An open letter to the NSW Premier – 20 August 2021
Dear Premier Berejiklian,
We, the undersigned, are dismayed by the unprecedented plans your Government has announced for Kosciuszko National Park.
More than seventy-five years ago your parliamentary forebears legislated to protect the mountain landscapes, alpine habitats and headwaters of the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Snowy rivers as Kosciuszko National Park. It was a truly precious gift to future generations.
Documents tabled in the NSW Legislative Council reveal that the NSW Government will only receive $1.65 million from Snowy Hydro Ltd for the dumping of 14 million cubic metres of spoil in Kosciuszko National Park.
“Not only is disposing of tunnelling spoil in a national park reprehensible, we now know that the NSW Government will receive barely 1/1000th of commercial waste disposal rates” stated Gary Dunnett, Executive Officer of the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA).
The NSW Government has exhibited an Environmental Impact Statement to build massive transmission towers through Kosciuszko National Park. The proposed ‘overhead’ connection links the new Snowy 2.0 powerstation with the electrical grid.
The National Parks Association of NSW is demanding that the Snowy 2.0 connection should be by underground cables rather than on overhead lines. Underground cables have far lower environmental impacts, are less vulnerable to fires and storms, are recognised as international best practice for environmentally sensitive sites, and avoid setting a terrible precedent for future connections through our precious national parks.
This guide will assist everyone who cares about the future of Kosciuszko National Park to make a submission demanding an underground connection for Snowy 2.0
SUBMISSIONS CLOSE: Easter Monday 5/4/2021
The EIS for the Snowy 2.0 Transmission Connection can be viewed at https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/project/10591
We recommend using the Planning Department Major Projects online form to make your submission. You’ll need to create an account with the NSW Department of Planning to be allowed to make a submission.
If you have any problems please email your written submission to Sharniec@npansw.org.au before the closing date and we’ll ensure it is forwarded to the NSW Department of Planning
It is always best to make a submission in your own words. You can be as specific or as general as you like, and remember there is no need to be an expert to offer a comment. Issues you might like to address include:
- State your connection to Kosciuszko National Park, whether as a visitor, bushwalker, camper, climber, cross country skier or someone passionate about the environment.
- Describe how the destruction of this part of Kosciuszko National Park will impact your visitation and spending in the local area.
- Note that our collective responsibility is to protect National Parks for future generations, not for the commercial advantage of electricity companies.
- State your strong objection to any new overhead transmission lines through national parks, including Kosciuszko National Park.
- Note that the last major transmission line to be constructed in a NSW National Park was in the 1970’s, more than half a century ago.
- Overhead transmission lines are no longer acceptable in environmentally sensitive locations such as national parks. Underground cables have less impact, last longer and are a far better option.
- Since 2006, the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management (POM) has required that any additional transmission lines in the Park be located underground.
- It is outrageous that the NSW Government is looking to overturn this very reasonable policy so that TransGrid and Snowy Hydro Corporation can use a cheaper, outmoded and environmentally destructive option, ie. overhead lines.
- The proposed overhead lines are far more visually intrusive than any of the existing single-circuit lines in the Park, with two sets of massive 75-metre-high towers traversing eight kilometres of Kosciuszko over a cleared swathe up to 200 metres wide. The towers and lines will be visible over an astonishing 250 square kilometres of wilderness.
- One square kilometre of national park will be permanently cleared, decimating the habitat of threatened species such as Yellow bellied glider, Squirrel Glider, Eastern Pygmy Possum, Gang Gang Cockatoo, Powerful Owl, Masked Owl and the Boorolong Frog.
- If such species aren’t safe in a national park where can they possibly survive?
- The Environmental Impact Statement is totally inadequate and should be withdrawn. If resubmitted it should propose an underground connection, in compliance with the POM and in keeping with world-best practice.
- If the EIS is approved this NSW Government will be the first to condone overhead transmission lines in a National Park for 50 years – a tragic legacy, especially when there are viable underground alternatives.
- Kosciuszko National Park is already under incredible stress from the bushfires which decimated much of the park in 2019-20, to the advancing effects of climate change. This area is already extremely fragile and cannot afford further destruction. Overhead transmission lines are completely unnecessary and inflict totally unnecessary permanent damage to our beloved Kosciuszko National Park.
The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) has expressed outrage that the NSW Government plans to overturn the Plan of Management for Kosciuszko National Park. A newly exhibited amendment to the Plan of Management exempts Snowy 2.0 from the legal requirement that new electricity transmission circuits must be placed underground rather than on environmentally damaging overhead towers1.
Twenty four organisations and fifty expert engineers, scientists, environmentalists, academics and economists, are calling on Planning Minister Rob Stokes and Environment Minister Matt Kean to avoid further damage to Kosciuszko National Park by putting the electricity transmission connection for Snowy 2.0 underground.