Hazelwood heritage bid

Heritage Victoria will assess the cultural heritage value of Hazelwood Power Station after Moe resident Cheryl Wragg applied for part of the site to be listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Ms Wragg’s application is for partial conservation of the Hazelwood Power Station, which will include one whole stage, the turbine halls and chimneys.

“This would allow for three of the boiler stages to be demolished while retaining the most culturally important aspects of Hazelwood,” she said.

“The story of Hazelwood Power Station is very important in Victoria’s and Australia’s history.

“For example the SECV was actively considering going nuclear during the 1950’s and was closely watching the development of atomic energy in the United Kingdon and the United States. It made the conscious decision to build Hazelwood Power Station instead of taking Australia down the nuclear path.”

Ms Wragg said her application focused on the engineering, social and historical significance of the Hazelwood Power Station.

“Along with the application for conservation of Morwell Power Station and Briquette Factories, the assessment and, hopefully, partial conservation of Hazelwood Power Station will ensure the story of Victoria’s and the Latrobe Valley’s engineering and energy industry heritage is valued into the future.”

The application follows Ms Wragg’s bid to have the former Morwell power station and briquette factory heritage listed earlier this year.

Following an assessment, Heritage Victoria’s executive director recommended the Morwell power station and briquette factory be preserved, with registration hearings scheduled to begin on Thursday, 12 October.

The site had previously been slated for demolition.

Latrobe City mayor Kellie O’Callaghan said council was not a party to the application.

“The proponents have not sought nor secured the support of Council. I’m not aware if they have sought or secured the support of the community,” she said.

“While the consideration of this asset will be on its historical merit, council will be seeking assurance from the state government that this asset will not become a burden on the community.”

Ms O’Callaghan urged Heritage Victoria executive director Steven Avery to reconsider the process and to undertake “broad, meaningful community engagement” prior to receiving public submissions.

“This is an important decision – it is worthy of a generous conversation with the community, not a cold and clinical exchange of paper,” she said.

“Latrobe City Council will advocate and lobby to ensure that whatever the final decision is for this facility, that it will not become a burden to the community.

“It is imperative that the cost of maintaining this asset is never borne by our ratepayers. Nor should they be left with an abandoned decaying industrial site.”

A Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning spokesperson said the nomination of Hazelwood Power Station for the Victorian Heritage Register would be assessed by heritage experts and considered on its merits. 

“The former operator of the site has also engaged a heritage consultant to identify items of heritage value and will work with Heritage Victoria, the Latrobe City Council and the community on how to best acknowledge Hazelwood’s contribution to the local community and the state,” they said.