Major new power transmission line projects around Wagga and Snowy Valleys could face additional community consultation requirements after Wagga MP Joe McGirr won a vote in Parliament last week.
Dr McGirr successfully moved an amendment to the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Bill requiring the responsible minister to consider the "views of the local community in the area" before requesting "priority transmission infrastructure projects".
NSW electricity network operator TransGrid is exploring routes for the Humelink project, a 500 kilovolt transmission line between Wagga and the Snowy Hydro Scheme via Tumut or Batlow.
TransGrid is also planning a $1 billion EnergyConnect project to build a 330 kilovolt line between Wagga and South Australia.
Dr McGirr told The Daily Advertiser that he wanted to add to community consultation requirements that were already in place after he was contacted by concerned landowners along the potential Humelink route.
"It's a recognition that the current process that we have is not good," Dr McGirr said.
"I support the bill in terms of building a roadmap out of the coal stations that are retiring over the next 10 to 15 years, there's a recognition that we need to build the grid and diversify electricity supply.
"It's also important that when the infrastructure is built, that the communities aren't the last people to be considered, which is how the system operates now; they are a kind of an afterthought in the process."
A TransGrid spokesperson said the operator had "received valuable information from communities relevant to both projects" around Wagga and would "continue to work with landowners and communities throughout the life of the both projects".
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"As the long term managers of critical infrastructure across NSW, we have enduring relationships with landowners and communities and we are always looking at how we can do things better," the spokesperson said.
NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean said in Parliament that he supported the amendment to ensure a "social licence" for transmission lines.
"[The Wagga electorate] is facing some challenges due to the construction of HumeLink, which will bring the Snowy 2.0 cheap reliable energy into the system," Mr Kean said.
Labor Swansea MP Yasmin Catley said the opposition also supported the amendment.
The Bill, including Dr McGirr's amendment, has passed to the upper house, where it faces opposition including from One Nation MLC Mark Latham, who said the bill was "a radical economic experiment" given NSW's reliance on coal.