Time to embrace an opportunity

Ella Darling is a Lavalla Catholic College student who has been following the Hazelwood closure and feels change is coming to the region.

“It is a bit uncertain but it’s also exciting because you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you can feel there’s something new that’s going to happen,” the year 11 student said.

“It’s not just going to be the same thing happening in the Valley.”

The 16 year-old is in the first year of VCE and hopes to study something science related once she finishes secondary school.

“I believe there could be opportunities of that sort down here,” Ella said.

Despite the closure of Hazelwood and the uncertainty which comes with it, she hopes to stay in the region once she completes her studies.

“I love this place and I would love to live here for the rest of my life,” Ella said.

“It’s a beautiful place and (has) beautiful people.”

But she said the closure had impacted classmates whose parents worked at Hazelwood.

“A lot of families with fathers that work at Hazelwood they’re a bit worried about what their future holds and some were even planning on working in the coal industry here,” Ella said.

“So it has been a bit of a reality check and surprising but it isn’t something we always talk about, but it’s an important part in our lives.”

But Ella said she hopes to see new opportunities created in the region.

“We have been in the coal industry and moving forward and (I’d like to see us) trying new things and being guinea pigs for new opportunities and different industries,” Ella said.