Back to work is extended

State member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing has announced a scheme to assist retrenched Hazelwood workers and unemployed people in the Latrobe Valley will remain open for another year.

The State Revenue Office ‘Back to Work’ scheme provides employers with up to $5000 to hire and train retrenched Hazelwood workers and local unemployed people.

The scheme was initially set to close on 30 June or until the fund was fully subscribed.

However the scheme will now remain open to match that of dairy industry workers and automotive workers who are eligible for up to $5000 and $7000 respectively.

“We promised we’d get Victorians back to work and that we would support the Valley’s potential now and into the future,” Ms Shing said.

“This is why we’re extending the scheme for another year for the Latrobe Valley.”

Ms Shing’s comments follow State Member for Morwell Russell Northe’s recent call for an extension to the scheme.

“It’s nice to see Mr Northe finally realise how beneficial Labor’s Back to Work scheme has been, given the amount of time that he and his Coalition colleagues have spent criticising it and talking our region down,” Ms Shing said.

Mr Northe said the time frame of the Back to Work scheme needed to be extended to allow additional time for Hazelwood and Carter Holt Harvey workers.

“The Valley is in the midst of a jobs crisis and the Andrews Labour Government must ensure our local employers can access this fund beyond the June 30, 2017 deadline,” Mr Northe said.

Hazelwood power station closed in March 2017 and Carter Holt Harvey is expected to close its Morwell sawmill at the end of August.