Despite strong community opposition, plans to use overhead powerlines rather than underground cables is the correct approach, an inquiry has found.
A NSW parliamentary committee last Thursday released its report looking at the feasibility of undergrounding transmission infrastructure for renewable energy projects, including the controversial HumeLink project.
"That, in considering all the evidence, the current plan for constructing HumeLink as a 500 kilovolt overhead transmission line is the correct approach especially given the applicable regulatory environment and the lack of any action to date in progressing the undergrounding option," the findings read.
The findings further stated cost as a core issue, as well as the delay undergrounding would cause.
One of the main concerns from the community has been the bushfire risk and the report stated the inquiry was satisfied with the bushfire mitigation.
"The memory of the 2019-2020 bushfires still looms large, and we would not endorse something we believed had a real risk of contributing to fires," the report read.
"However, based on the evidence provided by Transgrid and the Rural Fire Service we are satisfied that overhead transmission lines do not pose a risk of igniting bushfires, and that the right procedures are in place to manage risk if bushfires are present."
The inquiry's report was realeased a day after Transgrid released the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Humelink project.
However, landholders set to be affected by the lines were not convinced by the findings, or how the inquiry had been conducted.
Michael Katz, Gurrundah, said the entire exercise was pre-determined.
"I think the total process is a sham," he said.
"We're supposed to have a planning process, but it's not useful if it's ignored."
Mr Katz said one of the main reasons he was pushing for undergrounding was the bushfire risk.
"We've seen bushfires started by powerlines many times," he said.
"Why are they not able to understand continuing with this is nonsense - that we have to go underground.
"The rest of the world has already figured it out. In Germany, in America, they are putting it underground."
Mr Katz said the community was particularly horrified by exaggerated claims about the cost of undergrounding, and the flow-on cost to consumers.
"These claims have been completely exaggerated despite firm evidence to the contrary," he said.
"The Premier claims the cost for undergrounding will be three times the $4.9 billion cost of above ground, but the inquiry heard from experts the costs would be far less."