LEGAL action may be taken against an international energy company to force it to repair damaged roads in Moyne Shire.
Councillors have been told AGL and its partner Meridian Energy grossly underestimated the number of truck movements on shire roads for the $1 billion Macarthur project which will start generating electricity this weekend.
And the shire says an independent engineering report found that repairs done by the project contractors were below satisfactory standard.
Council chief executive David Madden said the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) was working to enforce conditions of the planning permit which required the company to reinstate damaged roads.
He said the first part of the shire’s evaluation of roads had been given to the department and legal advice was being obtained on taking further action. “The department acknowledged the permit conditions could have been better written,” Mr Madden said.
“But I believe we have grounds for action in that under the permit they stated there would be only 10,000 truck movements, but there’s been more than 80,000 truck movements.
“There’s been a gross understatement on the impact of the permit.”
Mr Madden was responding to a question from Cr Colin Ryan seeking an update on the issue.
“It concerns me AGL came in full of promises and now are reneging on the promises and not fulfilling the obligations,” Cr Ryan said. “The public could be excused for thinking the company is not the good corporate citizen.
“They are thumbing their nose at the local community.”
However, AGL yesterday told The Standard claims regarding the amount of materials hauled appear inflated and the endorsed traffic management plan estimated 32,000 truck movements.
“AGL Energy and Meridian Energy, through their development of the Macarthur wind farm, have invested in excess of $10 million into local infrastructure and roads under agreement with the state government and Moyne Shire,” the company said.
“These works have been largely completed with reports issued to the state government confirming build quality and readiness for handover.”
Cr Ryan said AGL was granted a traffic management permit before the project started last year requiring certain roads to be repaired and upgraded.
“Tests showed roads were damaged and substandard and not up to the traffic management plan requirements,” he said.
“DPCD sent a letter to AGL and AGL said they believed the roads were done to the required standard.”