The Victorian Coalition Government in Australia has announced the targeted replacement of powerlines in high-risk bushfire areas is underway as part of its $750 million program to reduce the risk of bushfires started by electricity assets.
Minister for Energy and Resources Nicholas Kotsiras said work has begun in the state's highest-priority bushfire areas under the Powerline Replacement Fund, which will see the government spend up to $200 million over 10 years to replace bare-wire overhead powerlines.
"The replacement of overhead lines in high risk areas is a crucial part of our $750 million program to make Victorians safer from bushfires started by powerlines," Kotsiras said.
"Today saw the first of many overhead powerlines in high risk areas being replaced with underground cabling and we will also be replacing powerlines with insulated cable and aerial bundled cable, all of which reduce the risk of wires clashing and starting fires."
Kotsiras said the Coalition government has already carried out major infrastructure upgrades and made improvements to how Victoria's electricity network was managed, under its 10-year program, which fully implements the recommendations of the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission.
"The extensive work already carried out is making Victorians safer today and now we are starting targeted replacement of powerlines in the highest risk areas to build on that work," Kotsiras said.
The Fire Services Commissioner has identified areas in and around the Dandenong Ranges, the Otway Ranges and Warburton District as target areas for the first phase of powerline replacement. Both privately owned overhead electric lines and high voltage powerlines owned by distribution companies will be replaced in targeted areas under the program. Once phase one is complete there will be further works across the state in areas of high risk.