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Community leaders in Western VIC talk transmission with Energy Minister D'Ambrosio

Last week, we led a delegation of community leaders from Western Victoria to discuss opportunities and barriers for renewable energy transmission with Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio.

There was a broad spectrum of participants including farmers, policy specialists, wind and transmission line hosts, potential future hosts and regional development experts.

The Minister gave everyone an opportunity to speak before outlining her thoughts – she said that VicGrid can play an important role in engaging communities, and that the VTIF (Victorian Transmission Investment Framework) can help with community benefits.

Participants from L-R: Simon Tickner, John Bennett, Susan Findlay Tickner, Bridget Ryan, Kate Burke, Tom Quinn, Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Tony Goodfellow, Michael Poulton, Chris Sounness.

We thank all participants for their valuable contributions.


John Bennett
John runs a mixed farming business in Western Victoria in partnership with his wife, daughter and son. Their home base is at Lawloit between Kaniva and Nhill and they also farm at Navarre and Wallaloo east in the proposed pathway for VNI West.

Dr Kate Burke
Dr Kate Burke is a passionate rural advocate who asks that the people of country towns like Elmore and Echuca be afforded the same opportunities and outcomes as their urban counterparts in Eltham and Elwood. Kate is a former member of the Loddon Campaspe Regional  Partnership. By placing humans at the centre of every infrastructure initiative, Kate is confident of a vibrant future with thriving communities.

Susan Findlay Tickner
Susan works within the renewable energy sector as Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager for RES in Australia, she is also Chair of the Board of RE-Alliance. She is an active partner in a large grain growing enterprise in Western Victoria that hosts wind turbines of the Murra Warra Wind Farm, and transmission lines.

Michael Poulton
CEO Committee for Ballarat. One of Committee’s major focus is to work with business, industry, government and our community to progress Ballarat as a regional city powered by 100% Renewable Energy. The Ballarat Energy Network is an aggregated, distributed model for local generation, distribution, sharing and export of renewable energy into the NEM, and seeks to test the feasibility and commercial viability of a Community Energy Network for a city of 100,000+.

Tom Quinn
Climate and policy expert. Founding CEO of the Future Business Council, formerly Head of Policy and Research of Beyond Zero Emissions and helped establish the City of Melbourne’s groundbreaking renewable energy program. Tom is based in regional Victoria near Ballarat – near the proposed WRL.

Chris Sounness
CEO of Wimmera Southern Mallee Development (previously WDA) fostering regional growth in Wimmera Southern Mallee region. His career has focussed on agricultural climate knowledge communication and adaptation response and community resilience. Committed to renewable energy and rural community growth through transformation. Driving sustainable and inclusive growth for a prosperous future.

Simon Tickner
Simon Tickner is a dry land grain farmer at Warracknabeal. Simon had led the 17 member landholder group in the development and construction of the 99 turbine Murra Warra Wind Farm. Five kilometres of large 220kv transmission lines built in the 1970s pass through the Tickners' farmland, which have negligible impact on the business.

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