Community pressure for safer power poles in the south-west has stepped up with the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) also calling for reform.
UDV Wannon branch vice president Bernie Free, of Winslow, said the community was coming forward with lots of evidence of sub-standard power poles in the region but power distribution companies were saying they were meeting audit standards.
Mr Free said it was the responsibility of government to ensure power companies, and the authorities that oversaw them, were doing their job.
“It’s a safety thing,” he said.
The outcry about sub-standarded power poles in the south-west has followed last year’s St Patrick’s Day fires in the Warrnambool region, all of which were started by electrical assets.
The fires devastated dozens of dairy farms in the south-west when they were whipped along by strong winds on the night of March 17.
Mr Free said he hoped government would more clearly define what were the responsibilities of power companies to maintain electrical assets in safe condition to prevent disasters such as the St Patrick’s Day fires from reoccurring.
The UDV Wannon branch has written to numerous members of parliaments, local councils and other decision makers to get government to “ask the hard questions” about whether power assets were being maintained safely, he said.
It will also hold a meeting on January 15 at Macey’s Bistro in Fairy Street at which the issue of sub-standard power infrastructure in the region will be discussed.
The new UDV president Paul Mumford will address the meeting that will begin at 7.30pm. All farmers are welcome to attend the meeting.
UDV policy councillor Oonagh Kilpatrick, of Koroit, said the government “was turning a blind eye” to the dangers of poor power infrastructure to the dairy industry, which was a major driver of the local economy.