SEC to be enshrined in the Constitution

Committed: A Morwell presence has been confirmed for the SEC revival. File photograph

Michelle Slater

The Labor government would enshrine a re-invigorated State Electricity Commission into the Victorian Constitution if re-elected on Saturday, Premier Dan Andrews announced in Yallourn this morning.

Mr Andrews fronted media at the former Yallourn Powerhouse Hotel and former SEC headquarters to outline further details of the plan to put the state’s electricity sector back into public ownership.

He said enshrining the SEC into the Constitution would protect the entity from being potentially sold-off again by a future government.

“The last thing we want to do is build this up, make it better than it’s ever been and then have a Liberal government who would simply sell it off,” Mr Andrews said.

“They wouldn’t be able to resist selling off such a big and successful entity and turn it again into a profit centre for multi-national companies, with all the sackings, cuts and higher power bills that flow from decisions like that.”

The Labor government had previously stated a new SEC would create 59,000 jobs and 6000 apprenticeships, with the head office to be located at the Morwell GovHub.

Mr Andrews said today “as many” of these jobs “as possible” would be in the Valley, pointing to the region’s existing workforce.

“These are great high skilled, high paying jobs with certainty and security. So many of these skills and trades were under the watchful eye of the SEC and they can be taken anywhere,” Mr Andrews said.

“There will be the need to be trades, qualifications in the big, broad supply chain.”

Labor would make an initial investment of $1 billion towards delivering 4.5 gigawatts of renewables which would be the equivalent replacement capacity of Loy Yang A.

The plan would mean that the government becomes a 51 per cent stakeholder in these projects.

Mr Andrews stressed however, that existing mine operators would still have to stand by their obligations around mine rehabilitation.

“These private companies may have told us they are leaving but they don’t get to leave a legacy of broken promises,” Mr Andrews said.

“They are obliged to do the right thing and we will hold them to account in terms of mine rehabilitation or other important obligations they have.”

A Liberal Party spokesperson accused Mr Andrews of providing “vague answers” around job numbers in the Valley.

“That’s because all he is offering is a shop front. ‘There will be an SEC office here’ he said. That’s his answer to the jobs crisis in the Valley,” the Liberals’ spokesperson said.

“A shop front adorned with a logo, whose trademark he doesn’t own, fitted out with a photocopier, a desktop computer or two, and a crib for morning and arvo tea.”