Bringing a government department to the Latrobe Valley in an effort to offset Hazelwood-related job losses is not a silver bullet for the region’s economic woes, a Melbourne economist has warned.
SGS Economics and Planning economist Terry Rawnsley said having a smaller
“That’s where sometimes regional communities don’t have the depth of
His comments come less than four weeks from the station’s closure and with some hopes pinned on the possibility of attracting a State Government department to the region.
His research contained little good news for the region, finding the Latrobe-Gippsland region grew by just 0.4
While the result was better than other regional areas which recorded negative growth, it will provide small comfort for one bracing for the loss of about 750 jobs once Hazelwood closes.
“For sure that once the plant shuts there’ll be a recession and we’ve seen that in other places,”
“There’ll be people who get jobs located nearby but they probably won’t be the same high-paying jobs.
“So you’ll get an income shock to the system.”
He said that income shock would be felt by businesses more than employees, meaning while companies held onto
“I think the faster transport links are a really important factor,” he said.
“Within the past 10
“They’re regular enough that people can commute to Melbourne if they want to and they open up opportunities for people.
The initial stages of the government’s response to the closure
“What you’re doing there is you’re finding the businesses in the Valley that have a competitive advantage and you’re supporting those ones rather than trying to plonk in a government department or a business that doesn’t fit into the jigsaw puzzle,” he said.
However, Latrobe City mayor Kellie O’Callaghan, an advocate of
ASIC moved to the region in the aftermath of
“We’ve seen a lot of benefit from having government departments in our area,” Cr O’Callaghan said.
“We know it provides job opportunities for a range of people with a range of skills.”
But she agreed with
“That’s consistent with what we’ve been calling for,” she said.
“It’s the total package of having rail connectivity, not only for that passenger rail option for those commuters option.
“We also have to make sure that infrastructure is in place so if we have industries that develop in our region they can bring their products to market.”