Industry minister to return this month

State Industry and Employment Minister Wade Noonan will visit the Latrobe Valley this month to shed more light on the government’s $40 million transition package.

On a visit to the Valley yesterday for the Committee for Gippsland launch of its ‘Our Region Our Future’ document, Mr Noonan reconfirmed his promise to return with Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford.

“I’m coming back… to host some further discussions with local government, but also visit workplaces and engage with other stakeholders that I didn’t get to do the first time around,” Mr Noonan said.

“When I come back with Minister Pulford, we’ll have an outline of the plan in relation to the early stage investment of the economic development package.”

The details of the $40 million package announced in the budget are largely unknown, to the frustration of some community members.

Yesterday Mr Noonan hinted at the areas government could focus on, saying the various reports on the Latrobe Valley he had recently been studying featured three key themes.

“There is an opportunity to grow and diversify the local economy through local businesses that are already here,” Mr Noonan said.

“There is a desire to see new industry, new business facilitated through government support to establish within the region as well.

“And there is an opportunity to either skill up or reskill workers to take up the new opportunities that exist.”

Mr Noonan called on the Federal Government to do its bit to support the Valley as the state had.

He moved to reassure the community, despite there being little detail as yet, the transition package was a “top priority” of government.

“Of course we will move as quickly and as efficiently as we can to establish new opportunities in the region, but we want to do it well,” Mr Noonan said.

“Every dollar needs to count in relation to the region’s future.

“I understand the urgency that exists and we won’t be wasting any time.”