Australia: Freehills Wins in Victorian Supreme Court for Murraylink
Last Updated: 4 August 2003

A team from Freehills’ litigation practice has had an important win in the Victorian Supreme Court on behalf of its client Murraylink Transmission Company (Murraylink). According to lead partner Alan Mitchell, the win was especially significant because it overturned decisions by the national electricity regulator (NEMMCO) and National Electricity Tribunal, and was the culmination of a two-year dispute where Murraylink was opposed by two state governments, NEMMCO and rival electricity company TransGrid.

On Thursday 24 July Murraylink won its Supreme Court appeal against the split (2-1) decision of the National Electricity Tribunal (NET), which had upheld a decision by NEMMCO, conferring regulated status on TransGrid’s proposed SNI project.

TransGrid is proposing to construct an interconnector linking the transmission grids in New South Wales and South Australia. In December 2001 they obtained approval from NEMMCO for that facility to have regulated status, which meant that its construction cost would effectively be transferred to consumers.

Construction of that facility would duplicate Murraylink's 220 MW interconnection, which has already been constructed. Now the world’s longest underground transmission line at 180 km, Murraylink connects the Victorian and South Australian electricity grids, allowing power to be traded directly between the two states.

The Murraylink interconnection sources power generated in Victoria, the Snowy Region and NSW. It can also source power generated in SA for transmission to Eastern States, and went into service in September 2002.

In late December 2001 Murraylink challenged NEMMCO's decision in the Tribunal (NET) but failed. On 24 July 2003 the Victorian Supreme Court allowed Murraylink's appeal and set aside the Tribunal's decision on the basis of an error of law by the Tribunal.

‘This case involves a very complex mix of law, economics and engineering,’ said Mr Mitchell. ‘This is an important win for our client, because they believe that the duplication of Murraylink by an overhead SNI is not in the best financial or ecological interest of the nation and South Australian consumers in particular.’

The Murraylink project is an international investment by the Murraylink Transmission Company, an investment development company of the Canadian utility Hydro Quebec and SNC – Lavalin. Alan Mitchell was assisted by Freehills solicitors Helen Mould and Anna Riley.

With 1000 lawyers, including 210 partners, and over 1900 staff across Australia and South East Asia, Freehills is recognised as one of the leading Australian commercial law firms by independent legal guides and directories. Freehills has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore, and correspondent firms in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Press Releases from this Firm
Recent Content from this Firm
By Caroline Cox
By Caroline Cox
By Caroline Cox
By Duncan Giles, Naomi Messenger
By Orana Swan, Charlotte Storey
By Duncan Giles, Naomi Messenger
Font Size: