Merriwa locals are invited to the Merriwa-Cassilis Alliance meeting tonight with Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
Last week representatives from the Alliance went to NSW Parliament where they say they had a productive conversation with the Deputy Premier and Minister for Environment and Energy, The Hon. Matt Kean.
President of the Merriwa-Cassilis Alliance Peter Campbell thanked all who attended for a constructive meeting.
"We want this conversation to be two-way and for farmers to have a say in this project. It was great to have everyone in the same room to bring to light our concerns and the negative impact of Transgrid's location of the proposed corridor. Going forward the alternative routes need to recognise and value the contribution of agriculture to our local and wider community."
"Our objective is to move the proposed transmission lines off prime agricultural land on the Merriwa Plateau and utilise public land and expand existing infrastructure, said Heidi Inder, Secretary of the Merriwa-Cassilis Alliance."
The Alliance said they walked away from the meeting with a commitment from all involved to go back to the drawing board and explore all corridor options available, including those on public land with a more in-depth analysis.
Minister for Environment, Matt Kean raised the importance of the project with transmission being the essential infrastructure needed to keep the lights on and bring power prices down in NSW.
“My commitment to the Merriwa Cassilis Alliance is to make sure that all route options for the Central-West Orana REZ transmission are run completely to ground,” Minister Kean said.
“I expect TransGrid to engage in meaningful, genuine consultation with the local community to try to find solutions that work for all parties.”
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said that the meeting was important to not only the Merriwa-Cassilis Alliance to be heard but also for Government to listen.
“It is important that we as a Government listen to our communities and my commitment is to do just that.”
"That is why I will be attending the next Merriwa-Cassilis Alliance meeting at the Merriwa RSL, we need to get this right and we need to include our agricultural land holders, families and local
businesses in the discussion,” John Barilaro said.
Terms of Reference and further detail on the project and corridors to be explored will be confirmed and discussed at the first consultation workshop, which will also be attended by representatives from the NSW Government’s Energy Corporation of NSW.
The Merriwa Cassilis Alliance would like to invite landowners, businesses & community members to our next general meeting on Monday 17 May, 5:00pm to 6:00pm at the Merriwa RSL Club auditorium.
Deputy Premier, The Hon. John Barilaro will be in attendance to discuss energy infrastructure development plans relevant to the Upper Hunter.
The meeting will be chaired by Peter Campbell, MCA President.