Beverley McArthur MP

Member for Western Victoria Region

Media Statement



Energy, fires and unsafe power infrastructure were topics raised in the Parliament this week by Member for Western Victoria Region, Bev McArthur.

Mrs McArthur used an Adjournment Debate, a Constituency Question and a Bill on Energy to raise the serious issues of energy safety, availability, affordability and reliability.  

However, the key issue of the moment is the inability of the Government to provide safe energy infrastructure, especially power poles and power lines. 

Mrs McArthur commented on the anniversary of the St Patrick’s Day fires which resulted from ‘electrical elements’ and which were exacerbated by ‘out of control’ roadside vegetation and past ‘use by date’ wooden power poles.

While there is clearly no proper management of existing infrastructure, the new power lines that are being installed at a rapid rate to accommodate the numerous wind farm installations are also not regulated to a safe standard.  Hence one of these cheap imported live power lines collapsed near Noorat. The line fell onto long grass on a roadside adjoining a farm that was already impacted by fire from the St Patrick’s Day fires a year ago.

The 2009 Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission recommended that power lines be replaced with aerial bundled or underground cabling to avoid fire, collision and lightening strike. ‘This should obviously be a priority.’

Mrs McArthur paid tribute to the CFA, other volunteers, Council employees, charity and church personnel for their outstanding efforts under pressure and Mayor Jo Beard from the Corangamite Shire who showed real leadership in the St Patrick’s Day Fire crisis.  Fortunately, no lives were lost but livelihoods were destroyed and hearts broken.

She referred to the loss of 23 houses, 40,000 hectares of farmland and 10,000 head of livestock when the fires raged through Garvoc, Terang, Cobden, Hawkesdale and Camperdown areas.

Mrs McArthur called on the Energy Minister to guarantee the safe provision of exiting and new power infrastructure and safe roadsides along which fire travels when there is ‘out of control’ roadside vegetation.

Contact: Beverley McArthur 0418 593 169

21 March 2019

See following page for images of the power line collapse at The Sisters as of 21 March 2019.