Easements provide Powerlink with a legal ‘right of way’ over a portion of land, so we can safely operate and maintain our transmission lines.

There are rules around activities you can and can’t do on and around a Powerlink easement. Some of these rules are set out in the registered easement conditions which are noted on the property’s title. These specifically set out the rights of both the landholder and Powerlink.

View our range of brochures for information on how we plan, build, operate and maintain our infrastructure.

 

In addition to these registered conditions, there are also other guidelines and rules that are based around:

  • safety to the public or to Powerlink employees and contractors 
  • risk of damage to property 
  • the safe operation of the overhead transmission line, underground cable or other assets 
  • access to the line or associated infrastructure for any future works, including maintenance, upgrading or renewal

Examples of activities which are not allowed on an easement include building houses, placing obstructions (such as a small shed) within 20m of a transmission tower, and operating mobile plant equipment (for example a tractor) that breaches the overhead statutory clearance distances.   

If you’d like to carry out an activity on an easement, please call us on (07) 3866 1313 to discuss it first.

Frequently asked questions

What is an easement?

Easements provide Powerlink with a legal ‘right of way’ over a portion of land, so we can safely build, operate and maintain our transmission lines.

Our easements are registered on the title of the affected land, but ownership of the land remains with the landholder. This means the landholder may use the land for many purposes, provided it doesn’t conflict with easement conditions.

Easements are acquired following a process which includes route planning, environmental studies and community consultation. The purpose of easements is to control activities near a transmission line to ensure public safety and the security of line operation or electricity supply.

The width of an easement is determined by factors including the voltage, the swing of the conductors (due to wind) and the need for a safety clearance zone outside the conductors.

If you want to carry out an activity on a Powerlink easement, and aren’t sure if it’s allowed — simply call us during office hours on 1800 635 369.  We’ll discuss your proposal and advise the next step.  This may include making a co-use request using our online form. 

What are the rules around activities on an easement?

There are rules around activities you can and can’t do on and around a Powerlink easement. Some of these rules are set out in the registered easement conditions which are noted on the property’s title. These specifically set out the rights of both the landholder and Powerlink.

In addition to these registered conditions, there are also other guidelines and rules that are based around:

  • safety to the public or to Powerlink employees and contractors
  • risk of damage to property
  • the safe operation of the overhead transmission line, underground cable or other assets
  • access to the line or associated infrastructure for any future works, including maintenance, upgrading or renewal.

Examples of activities which are not allowed on an easement include building houses, placing obstructions (such as a small shed) within 20m of a transmission tower, and operating mobile plant equipment (for example a tractor) that breaches the overhead statutory clearance distances.  

If you’d like to carry out an activity on an easement, please call us on (07) 3866 1313 to discuss it first.

How will I know if any maintenance work is required on my property after an inspection takes place?

A maintenance representative will contact you on behalf of Powerlink prior to any follow-up maintenance work occurring.

What kind of maintenance work may be required?

Powerlink maintains our network in a variety of ways, including:

  • Vegetation management, focusing on the control of any incompatible vegetation by selectively applying approved herbicides and/or removal of these species. If unsafe vegetation is identified beyond the easement boundary, Powerlink will discuss management options with the landholder.
  • Easement access track maintenance as required to assist with ensuring the safety of Powerlink employees and contractors.
  • Maintenance of transmission lines and towers, which includes routine activities to repair and replace infrastructure as needed to ensure our network continues operating safely and reliably.
What is the process for easement acquisition and transmission line construction?

Most Powerlink projects broadly follow the steps outlined below. However, the timing for each step in this process is unique to each project and the construction of the transmission line (or other network equipment) can depend on factors such as:

  • how quickly the relevant electricity demand is increasing
  • the operating pattern of relevant power generation facilities
  • the availability of non-network solutions to defer the need for increased transmission capacity
  • new high-usage customers in an area (for example, an aluminium smelter or mine)
  • other network changes (such as the connection of a new electricity generating source to the network).

Given these factors, it’s often difficult to estimate the exact timeframe for construction of a project.

The process

Powerlink generally follows the following process for easement acquisition and construction. We value input from landholders and the wider community, and proactively engage with local and state government, landholders and other stakeholders during the development process. While there are several opportunities for formal comment, we also encourage people to contact us at any time with questions or matters of interest.

  1. Assessing the Study Area. The first step in finding an appropriate location for the proposed infrastructure involves assessing the suitability of a broad Study Area. This step focuses on identifying any obvious social, physical, environmental or economic constraints.
  2. Study Corridor identified. Once initial assessments have been completed, potential corridor and/or site options within the broader Study Area are identified and assessed to identify the corridor and/or site location that achieves the best overall balance of environmental, social and economic factors.
  3. Preliminary Alignment identified. A Preliminary Alignment is identified within the broader Study Corridor to use as the basis for further information gathering and consultation with potentially affected landholders, stakeholders and the local community.
  4. Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Using all of the information gathered, including feedback from landholders, the community and other stakeholders, the environmental specialist develops a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Draft EIS is a written report that assesses the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the project. Consultation and information gathering is ongoing throughout this process.
  5. Feedback on Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The Draft EIS is released to the public for consideration and comment. We write to all landholders directly affected by the alignment in the Draft EIS to let them know the document is available for comment. Advertisements also appear in local papers and our Project Managers and/or Community Contact Officer is available for further advice. Everyone who provides comments on the Draft EIS will receive a written response to their submission.
  6. Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The environmental specialist reviews all comments received on the Draft EIS and where necessary makes changes or conducts additional studies for inclusion in the Final EIS. The Final EIS provides the overall environmental assessment and the recommendation of the final location for the transmission line. Directly affected landholders also receive a letter to advise them that the Final EIS is available for viewing.
  7. Planning approval – Ministerial designation. Powerlink seeks State planning approval for the project by having the easements ‘designated’ for community infrastructure under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA) by the Minister responsible for energy. We publicly advertise the intention to designate and anyone can make a submission. All submissions, together with Powerlink’s responses, are included in the application made to the relevant Minister.
  8. Easement acquisition – Resumption of easements. In addition to Ministerial designation, Powerlink also needs to obtain an easement for the infrastructure. To do this, Powerlink uses a resumption process under the Acquisition of Land Act 1967 (ALA).
  9. Construction of infrastructure. Depending on the need for the transmission line, construction may begin immediately after easements are acquired. In some cases we strategically acquire land in advance of when it’s needed to provide certainty to landholders and the community about the location of future infrastructure. We contact landholders to advise of any upcoming construction activities and continue to engage to ensure our activities take account of their specific property requirements.
  10. Maintenance of infrastructure. To ensure a safe, cost effective and reliable supply of electricity, it is important that we maintain our infrastructure and easements. Prior to carrying out maintenance on an easement that traverses a landholder’s property, we will notify the landholder and ensure we take steps to minimise any potential disruption from these activities. 
My contact details and relevant property information has changed. How do I update my details?

For Powerlink to do this work well, it is vital we have your correct contact details and land access requirements on file. If any of this information has changed since our last visit, please complete the enclosed form and return it to us in the attached prepaid envelope as soon as possible. Alternatively, please email a copy to [email protected]. A Powerlink representative may contact you to discuss the changes if required.