Authority defends role

LATROBE Valley Authority interim chief executive Kylie White has moved to highlight the work done by the organisation after Morwell MP Russell Northe criticised it last week.

Last week Mr Northe criticised the appointment of a climate policy adviser to former premier John Brumby to the authority and accused it of being another level of bureaucracy.

But Ms White pointed out transitioning the region was not a quick or easy process.

“Attracting new major employers and innovative industries and investments to the [Latrobe] Valley takes time,” she said.

“It’s important to attract investment and jobs that will benefit local people and boost the economy with long-term growth options that are sustainable.”

The State Government established the authority in November as part of its $266 million response to the closure of Hazelwood.

Its role is to provide support to workers, businesses and the community during the closure of the ageing plant.

“To date, we’ve provided information and support to more than 110 people through the Worker Transition Centre and more people are now starting to come to see us as the Hazelwood mine and power plant closure approaches,” Ms White said.

Eighteen staff work at the authority’s Morwell office and she said more appointments would be made soon.

“There are some positions still vacant with the LVA, including the director positions, which we are currently being filled by experienced government staff from across the Valley,” Ms White said.

A government spokesperson said the government would stand by the Latrobe Valley community during transition.

“As we’ve said all along, we will continue to stand by the Latrobe Valley communities and do whatever we can to help Hazelwood workers and their families,” the spokesperson said.

“Instead of sitting on the sidelines bagging our efforts and peddling false hope and mistruths, Russell Northe needs to finally stand up for the Valley and join us in helping the community.

“We stood with the people of the Latrobe Valley during the mine fire – and we stand with them now.”