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Fifth generation farmer takes on Ausnet over Western transmission network project in Victoria

A fifth-generation seventeen-year-old spud farmer has used a tractor to tell an energy company to ‘p*** off.’ 

Joee Aganetti-Fraser is one of many potato growers near Ballarat, Victoria, who are opposed to a 190km-long transmission line being built by energy company Ausnet.  

The farmer, whose parents own three properties in the Goldfield’s region, said it will destroy the business her family has owned since the 1800s. 

Joee Aganetti-Fraser (pictured right with friend Indiana Stranks) has used a tractor to tell an energy company Ausnet to 'p*** off'

Joee Aganetti-Fraser (pictured right with friend Indiana Stranks) has used a tractor to tell an energy company Ausnet to ‘p*** off’

She wrote the strongly worded message with her parents to draw attention to a powerline proposed to go under their farm, which they say will destroy it

She wrote the strongly worded message with her parents to draw attention to a powerline proposed to go under their farm, which they say will destroy it 

Ms Aganetti-Fraser told Daily Mail Australia it took herself, her parents and uncle five hours to write the strongly worded message. 

‘We just used the two-way radio and one of us was in the paddock, you know guiding and telling who was in the tractor what way to go,’ she said. 

The family are protesting the Western transmission network project, which will reach from Melbourne to Bulgana and cut through potato land in the Goldfield’s region.

Farmers say it will ruin the soil and render their businesses inoperable. 

‘The spud district will just be pretty much destroyed out here,’ said Ms Aganetti-Fraser. 

‘We won’t be able to farm underneath and it will cut out our good rich volcanic soil.’ 

Ms Aganetti-Fraser is protesting the Western transmission network project, which will reach from Melbourne to Bulgana and cut through potato land in the Goldfield's region

Ms Aganetti-Fraser is protesting the Western transmission network project, which will reach from Melbourne to Bulgana and cut through potato land in the Goldfield’s region

The family farm produces potatoes (pictured)

The family farm produces potatoes (pictured)

Ms Aganetti-Fraser said the family refused Ausnet’s buyout offer, but a neighbour took it up and a substation will be built next to their Mount Prospect farm.

Fraser Farming have three potato growing properties in Mount Prospect, Newlyn and Dean. 

Ms Aganetti-Fraser said it didn’t matter where the substation was, if the line was run under a spud farm it would render the land useless.

Under the proposals, farmers would also be unable to use large machinery over three or four metres tall which they say is necessary for their operations. 

The region produces over 130thousand tonnes of potatoes annually, and most of that is supplied to food giant McCain, which stocks McDonalds. 

Ms Aganetti-Fraser (left) said if the transmission line is put through Goldfields, it will destroy the potato industry in the region

Ms Aganetti-Fraser (left) said if the transmission line is put through Goldfields, it will destroy the potato industry in the region

‘The transmission lines will reduce our ability to produce potatoes for McCain’s and Lamb Weston by at least 40 per cent, meaning we won’t be able to supply [them] with the tonnage they need,’ Ms Aganetti-Fraser claimed. 

She said she wants the powerline to be put down the middle of the Western Highway, where it was initially proposed to go.

Farmers have claimed the country will have to start importing potatoes, Australian jobs will ‘go out the door’ and it will threaten our food security. 

South Australia is the country’s largest potato production state (38 per cent), followed by Tasmania and then Victoria at 21 per cent.

Ms Aganetti-Fraser (pictured) said she wants the powerline to be put down the middle of the Western Highway, where it was initially proposed to go

Ms Aganetti-Fraser (pictured) said she wants the powerline to be put down the middle of the Western Highway, where it was initially proposed to go

The Ausnet powerline is proposed to spread from Melbourne to Bulgana (pictured)

The Ausnet powerline is proposed to spread from Melbourne to Bulgana (pictured) 

Ms Aganetti-Fraser said farmers have had community meetings with Ausnet but they weren’t happy with their responses.

Daily Mail Australia has reached out to Ausnet for comment. 

On the project’s website, the company stated, ‘we are committed to engaging with you [landowners] openly and respectfully.

‘We want to understand items of importance to you, and ways to minimise impact to your land and/or operations.’

Daily Mail Australia has also reached out to the Victorian Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas. 

Ms Aganetti-Fraser (pictured) said farmers have had community meetings with Ausnet but they weren't happy with their responses

Ms Aganetti-Fraser (pictured) said farmers have had community meetings with Ausnet but they weren’t happy with their responses


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