POWERLINE PETITION GETS COLD SHOULDER FROM MINISTER

2 Jan 2009 2:26 PMJann Stuckey

January 2 2009

Member for Currumbin Jann Stuckey MP has accused the Minister for Energy of callously brushing aside the genuine concerns of 2,500 local petitioners who oppose Energex’s plans for 110kv overhead power lines on the southern Gold Coast.

Ms Stuckey, who is supporting a community fight to have the powerlines placed underground, said she was deeply disappointed by the Christmas Eve response from the Minister to the most recent petition tabled in November.

“Minister Wilson took nearly six weeks to respond to this second petition and wrote one and a half pages that merely restated the community consultation process being undertaken by Energex.,” said Ms Stuckey.

“Scrooge like Wilson did not tell petitioners anything they did not already know and has not given residents a single glimmer of hope that there is a chance the lines will be placed underground. 

“Rather than show he has any sympathy for the valid concerns of over 6,000 residents who signed petitions, the Minister simply said he acknowledges the matters raised in the petition and that people can raise their concerns through the community consultation process. 

“In effect he is washing his hands of the project until a later date, which will no doubt be after the next state election.  This is a kick in the teeth as countless residents have made submissions during the previous two public consultations. 

“Community representatives from S.T.O.P. (Stop The Overhead Powerlines) group will be up in arms over this bland response from the Minister which was sent on Christmas Eve. 

“The issue is one of the most emotive I have encountered in my electorate since being elected in 2004 and I am determined to fight with my constituents so they don’t have these 110kv power lines running through their neighborhood. 

“Community submissions on Energex’s report on the cost of undergrounding the project closed late November and no date has been fixed for the release of the Final Assessment Report.

“Residents have every right to be angry with both the timing and wording of the Minister’s response as it smacks of political opportunism and arrogance.