Moorabool Shire to exit Committee for Ballarat

Eddie Russell

Moorabool Shire Council will withdraw from the Committee for Ballarat.

During a council meeting on June 5, a motion to contact the committee and advise them that Moorabool was withdrawing was passed.

It received five votes out of a possible six in favour of parting ways with the committee.

Councillor Tom Sullivan, who raised the motion, said the interests of council and the committee no longer align.

“We have to look after the interests of our communities now and into the future and ensure that we… get good outcomes,” he said.

“Where Moorabool sits… is a bridge between greater Melbourne and regional Victoria, so our areas of interest are primarily in the peri urban area.”

Cr Sullivan insisted that the move would not impact relations with other councils and was not an indication of any falling out.

“We have very good relationships with all our neighbouring councils – we work collaboratively and collectively on different things and that’s a good way to be,” he said.

The proposed installation of overhead power lines as part of the Western Renewables Link, which the Committee for Ballarat supports, served as the catalyst for the withdrawal.

“We have strongly advocated that they should be undergrounded… to promote the power lines is contrary to the interests of our communities,” said Cr Sullivan.

“This threat… will affect their properties, their farms, and their livelihoods. It’s a great concern for us.”

AusNet Services is planning to run almost a third of its 190 kilometre overhead high voltage transmission line through the Moorabool Shire. The WRL will carry renewable energy from Bulgana in western Victoria to Sydenham in Melbourne’s north-west.

Cr Sullivan said the price tag was being prioritised over the wishes of the people.

“We continually get pushed back and told it’s too expensive… but why should the communities along the way bear the cost of that?”

The Committee for Ballarat is a member based organisation made up of councils, businesses, and organisations in the greater Ballarat region.