Date of inquiry into closure of Hazelwood and Yallourn is announced

Yallourn Power Station.

Michelle Slater

A Parliamentary Inquiry into the closure of the Hazelwood and Yallourn power stations will hold its first hearing in Traralgon on Wednesday, November 24.
The Inquiry had so far received 41 received submissions from power companies, environment groups, unions and locals.
The committee is examining the impact of the closure of power stations on the economy and jobs in the Latrobe Valley, as Yallourn is scheduled to shut in 2028.
The Inquiry was moved by Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath and will explore the loss of more than 1000 direct jobs from Yallourn, as well as associated contractors.
It will also examine the effectiveness of the Latrobe Valley Authority in helping the region transition.
The CFMMEU mining and energy division had described “the snowball effect” of Yallourn closing on the back of other major industry closures as “the economic straw that breaks the camel’s back”.
The union pointed out the flaws in a scheme devised to transition younger Hazelwood workers to other power stations and incentivise older workers to retire early.
It said both EnergyAustralia and AGL Loy Yang had failed to preference displaced Hazelwood employees in available vacancies.
The submission stated there was “no clause requiring participating companies to only employ from the pool of redundant ex-Hazelwood workers”, despite a goal to transition at least 150 workers.
“And no repercussions if they did not genuinely try to reach the scheme’s targets.”
The CFMMEU had proposed the state government could re-purpose Hazelwood and Yallourn into small modular nuclear reactors by 2030 to provide baseload power without emissions. Other suggestions included transforming the sites into gas plants to firm renewables, coal to hydrogen, or high efficiency low emissions coal-fired power stations with carbon capture and storage.
“There are more jobs in a nuclear power plant than a coal power plant so the economic impact on the Latrobe Valley would likely be economic growth rather than decline,” the submission stated.
“This new technology could create a completely new industrial hub to diversify the Latrobe Valley and could provide further education jobs, if training was setup with Federation University Churchill.”