As one of the communities most impacted by TasNetworks’ Project Marinus, Loongana Valley residents and landowners have had to ask, ‘is Marinus good for Tasmania?’
In the three years since TasNetworks began its multi-million dollar Marinus PR campaign, we’ve found their community engagement strategies to be tokenistic, disingenuous or dishonest. We’ve found their claims of benefits to be either overblown or untrue, that almost no benefits accrue to Tasmania, that the public will ultimately pay via power bills, debt and taxes for the Link and associated new transmission grid, that Marinus will export almost all the privatised renewable power and profits offshore, and that TasNetworks’ PR hides a deceptive and coercive attempt to make us pay for a new grid which serves them, the State coffers, and foreign investors – not us.
Our biodiverse and forested valley faces disruption, costs and multiple environmental and economic impacts that TasNetworks refuse to acknowledge. All impacts overlap and accumulate, and our wild forests, and the myriads of species in them, will be worst hit.
The transmission lines alone will cause immense drying to our valley, pollute creeks, karst cave systems and water catchment, and directly impact multiple threatened and endangered species. The small tourism businesses here, which depend on a wilderness experience, face closure as the valley is industrialised with two 45-60 metre high overhead transmission lines. The fire risk will soar as our property values plummet, and the tourists go elsewhere.
TasNetworks avoid negotiating fairly or honestly with us, while logging every phone call or interaction on a spreadsheet to show how ‘extensive’ their ‘community engagement’ is.
We’re fed up with the lies and threats hanging over us. We’re upset and hurting, and the barrage of Marinus PR is never enlightened by community voices or independent energy sector experts. TasNetworks’ appointed role as Jurisdictional Planner of the energy sector has resulted in a self-interested plan to improve its own finances while doing nothing for Tasmania’s transition to a sustainable economy. We want Project Marinus and the new transmission grid planning stopped. We want TasNetworks to be pulled from its planning role, and for multi-sector planning which benefits Tasmanian communities to begin, guided by independent expertise and genuine costs-benefits analysis. We want to see Tasmanian wind energy owned and kept here, not given away. We want to end TasNetworks’ predatory corporate ‘superprofits’ billing, and ensure any new transmission be undergrounded using existing corridors. Private profits should not be allowed to trump public interests, especially when it is we who will pay for it all.
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