By MICHELLE SLATER
Member for Morwell Russell Northe is calling on the state government to come up with a formal transition plan for the Latrobe Valley in the wake of the State Budget.
Mr Northe said he wanted a specific local jobs program for the Valley, and more clarity around continued funding for the Latrobe Valley Authority.
He said he was hopeful the government would re-introduce the Latrobe Valley Back to Work Scheme scrapped last year to incentivise local businesses to employ locals.
He said state government policies had contributed to the closure of Hazelwood and Yallourn power stations, but accused the government of “ignoring” the community being impacted by these closures.
“Yet it has once again failed to announce a commitment to develop a transition plan for our community when it is so desperately needed,” he said.
“Where are the jobs and projects that are going to replace those jobs already lost in the electricity generation and timber industries and those that are likely to be lost in the future?”
Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath said she was concerned how Regional Development Victoria funding cuts would affect Gippsland.
“The RDV portfolio was cut in half,” Ms Bath said.
“What ramifications does this have for the Latrobe Valley or for LVA future programs – particularly in the wake of future [coal-fired power station] closures?”
The Latrobe Valley Authority is being funded until next year’s budget after the government rolled over its funding last year.
Labor Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said both the LVA and RDV would continue their work in the local community.
She said the LVA was working with EnergyAustralia on a transition plan in the lead up to the Yallourn Power Station closure in 2028.
“The LVA has been focused entirely on transition since it was established. This budget is an investment in services, recovery and health and wellbeing, as well as jobs,” she said.
“It will take all levels of government to work together across electoral cycles to deliver long-term growth and certainty for the Latrobe Valley.”
By MICHELLE SLATER