WRL court verdict goes to appeal


The Regional Victoria Power Alliance (RVPA) has submitted an application to appeal the verdict handed down by the Supreme Court late last year relating to the Western Renewables Link (WRL).

The WRL is a proposed 190 kilometre overhead high-voltage electricity transmission line that will carry renewable energy from Bulgana, through Moorabool and Melton to Sydenham and requires the acquisition of an easement corridor 100 metres wide along its path.

RVPA is the trading name of the Moorabool and Central Highlands Power Alliance (MCHPA) which is a legal entity acting on behalf of landholders, businesses, and communities along the entire lengths of both proposed project corridors.

In September 2023, the MCHPA challenged the February and May 2023 ‘VNI West and WRL’ Ministerial Orders in the Supreme Court.

These orders, spearheaded by Energy and Resources Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, aimed to fast-track the construction of transmission towers and lines for the WRL and the related VNI-West project.

The court handed down a verdict on December 20 in favour of the minister, with Judge Michael McDonald ruling that the MCHPA did have standing to bring the matter to court, but rejected all 10 grounds on which the MCHPA challenged the orders.

RVPA submitted its appeal on February 16 and is currently waiting for a directions hearing to determine the next steps.

MCHPA chair Emma Muir said she believes the Ministerial Orders “cannot be democratically justified”.

“We are appealing this judgement vigorously to defend our homes, farms, businesses, and the environment,” she said.

“The proposed route for these transmission projects runs through Victoria’s most high-risk bushfire areas as well as prime agricultural land placing an unacceptable increased risk on these communities.

“These projects will have significant and detrimental generational impacts on the environment due to the extensive removal of native vegetation and the destruction of more than 475,000 mature native trees, this will cause serious loss of biomass and wildlife.

“By appealing the judgement, we are fighting to protect invaluable agricultural land, homes, and livelihoods from irreversible damage. It’s not just a battle for today but for the future of Regional Victoria and the generations to come.

“The community is rallied together, unwavering in its commitment to fight for its rights. Together, we have the power to effect change and ensure a sustainable future for Regional Victoria.”

Lily D’Ambrosio’s office was contacted for comment.