Fast and fair transition

Yallourn Power Station.

Alyssa Fritzlaff

LOCAL primary school teacher, Jane Sultana believes it is important the Latrobe Valley undertakes a “fast and fair” transition to clean power.

Mrs Sultana appeared in front of the Legislative Council Economy and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday, March 2 to provide her insights into the impacts of the closure of Hazelwood, the impending Yallourn closure, and the future of the Latrobe Valley.

She pointed to the “sense of abandonment” felt following the SEC privatisation and the need for an appropriate transition plan.

“It is imperative that this sense of abandonment does not repeat itself with the closure of the Latrobe Valley’s coal fired power stations,” she said in her submission.

“Substantial, ongoing government assistance will be required for years to come, to help the community transition away from coal and to reap the benefits from the renewable energy revolution.”

Mrs Sultana is the wife of a Senior Technical Officer at the Yallourn Power Station.

He has been employed at the station for 41 years and is soon retiring.

A transition plan focusing on the move to renewable energy and the need to reskill and train workers and to help them secure long-term jobs was a major focus of Mrs Sultana’s submission.

She said she sees many opportunities for the Valley regarding education and training, renewable energy workforces and tourism.

Mrs Sultana discussed the need to move to clean, green energy and expressed her personal concerns for the future of her own relatives.

During questioning, Labor Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, asked Mrs Sultana what is needed from the federal government in terms of support.

“I just know that the climate crisis is worsening,” she said.

“I am frightened for my children’s future, for any grandchildren I may have in the future, we need to act. We need all levels of government coming together,” Mrs Sultana said.

“The Feds definitely need to lift their game, they don’t seem to feel that it’s a crisis.”