A procession of tractors has formed blocking Spring Street in Melbourne protesting the proposed 190km transmission line running through farmland from Bulgana, near Stawell, to Sydenham in Melbourne's west.
The protesters are calling for an immediate halt to the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project, led by AusNet, which they say is poorly designed, not cost-effective and will result in loss of farm land in the communities it runs through.
Tuesday's protest follows a rally in Kingston on Sunday, where over 150 people gathered to show their opposition to the plan, with guest speakers including federal Ballarat MP Catherine King and state Ripon MP Louise Staley, as well as representatives from Hepburn Shire Council and the tourism and agricultural industries.
The Environmental Effects Statement is the next phase of the project process - requiring approval from the state and federal governments.
Hepburn Council is among the relevant councils that has already voiced its opposition and plans to submit its position at this step of the process.
In a statement responding to the protest, a spokesperson for AusNet Services said it was safe for landholders to continue farming operations under transmission lines, and the existing transmission network in western Victoria was at capacity.
"This proposed transmission line is critical infrastructure, which will allow new renewables projects, like wind and solar, to power half a million Victorian homes, as we move away from coal-generated electricity in the coming years," the spokesperson said.
"We fully understand the concern and uncertainty a project of this size can create for local communities and families and we are continuing to engage and consult with communities and landholders, right along the route, we are actively seeking their feedback and listening to their concerns."
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