Review Announced As Previous Terms Of Reference Were Too Narrow

Review Announced As Previous Terms Of Reference Were Too Narrow

Victoria Minister for Energy and Resources Michael O’Brien

Government Extends Powerline Bushfire Safety Taskforce Terms Of Reference

Victor P Taffa

The Baillieu Government has extended the terms of reference of the Powerline Bushfire Safety Taskforce and extended the Taskforce’s reporting date from 30 June to 30 September 2011.

Minister for Energy and Resources Michael O’Brien said the Government had decided to extend the Taskforce’s terms of reference to ensure that better information could be provided to the Government to assist with implementing the recommendations of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.

“The Government wants the Taskforce to explore options for how best to implement the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission’s recommendations relating to powerlines because the previous terms of reference were too narrow.” Mr. O’Brien said.



“Among other things, the Taskforce’s previous terms of reference did not reflect the Baillieu Government’s commitment to provide $50 Million in direct funding to commence the process of upgrading distribution assets in the areas of highest bushfire risk.”

“I have asked the Taskforce to consider options for the efficient and prudent allocation of this funding and advise the Government.” Mr. O’Brien said.

The Taskforce has been asked to analyse a broad range of options to reduce the risks of bushfires associated with electricity assets, including replacement of single wire earth return (SWER) and 22 kV lines, including:

• An explanation of the objective of each option;

• A graduation of options with associated cost profiles reported on an NPV basis;

• An explanation of the level of fire risk addressed by each option and the residual risk following implementation of the proposed options;

• An analysis of the avoided cost of under-grounding powerlines, with the avoided cost methodology including consideration of the net costs of under-grounding powerlines after netting out the expenditure that would have occurred if existing overhead lines were replaced at the end of their engineering lives.

“This additional work requires an extension in the reporting date to 30 September 2011. Due to the significant changes made to the terms of reference, I have advised the Taskforce that an interim report is not necessary.” Mr. O’Brien said.

“There will be ample opportunity for further community and stakeholder consultation. The process for that to occur will be finalised between the Taskforce and the Government shortly.” Mr. O’Brien said.