Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland has continued her fight to improve the region’s increasingly unstable power supply, meeting with both the AusNet CEO and the Minister for Energy and Resources during the recent sitting week of Parliament.
Ms Cleeland said the meetings were productive and left her with a cautious optimism, however acknowledged there was still a long road ahead.
“Following meetings with AusNet, I have been assured that some solutions and infrastructure upgrades will be presented in the coming weeks,” Ms Cleeland said.
“It remains to be seen if these solutions will make a tangible difference to the current system and its unreliability, however I was glad to hear that AusNet and their CEO David seemed to take the matter and the concerns of our community seriously.
“I also received assurances from the Energy Minister that she will be treating this matter extremely seriously and will help working towards a positive resolution for the region.”
During both meetings, Ms Cleeland shared a binder featuring all the personal stories that residents had shared about the outages, including information from recent petitions.
“Sharing the personal toll that these outages were having on our community was so important,” Ms Cleeland said.
“I hope both AusNet and members of the State Government have a serious read about the significant impact this issue is having.
“I want to thank everyone in the region who contributed and shared your stories with me. Within a month our collective efforts have compelled AusNet to improve the situation.”
Ms Cleeland had previously held town hall meetings with residents of the region’s most impacted communities, Euroa, Longwood, Violet Town, and Nagambie.
During these town hall meetings, Ms Cleeland spoke on the importance of hearing the human impact that the regular power outages were having.
“It was so important to hear from those impacted by these power outages and understand the very real effect this is having on households and businesses,” Ms Cleeland said.
“I listened to the distress of residents with a disability being stuck in their electric chairs, people unable to get their cars out of their garage during a crisis, pensioner’s expensive medication unable to be refrigerated and expiring, people with sleep apnoea tormented nightly unable to sleep without a working machine, and businesses going broke because they can’t operate.
“There are hundreds more harrowing stories like this that show the toll these outages are having on the health and safety of our community.
“These outages are doing more than just keeping residents in the dark, there are lives at risk and they are hitting people’s pockets at a time when they can least afford it.
“Ensuring those impacted receive a fair level of compensation is something I will fight for, and plan on raising in future meetings.”
Ms Cleeland has schedule a follow-up meeting with AusNet, and requested an update on the situation within the month.