The announcement by French energy company, Engie, that it will close the Hazelwood power plant and mine is gut wrenching news for Hazelwood workers, their families and Latrobe Valley communities.
The Andrews Labor Government will stand with these workers and their families – we will put them and the Latrobe Valley first.
Engie has made this decision because the French Government is divesting out of brown coal assets and the costs involved in keeping the power plant and mine safe for workers.
The Latrobe Valley Cabinet Taskforce, chaired by the Premier, has been meeting to plan for this very moment.
In the immediate term, a $22 million package of support will be available for Hazelwood workers and affected businesses. This includes:
- A Worker Transition Centre established in Morwell in partnership with the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council – a one-stop-shop for individual support
- Education, counselling, financial advice and subsidised job-seeker training for workers in transition
- Tailored support for businesses to help them identify new opportunities and develop a transition plan
- An expansion of the Back to Work program to businesses that employ workers in the Latrobe Valley
A call centre and website will go live today to provide affected workers with access to information and support.
An additional $20 million will fund the establishment of a dedicated Latrobe Valley Authority to lead the Government’s response and manage the transition and the future economic development of the Latrobe Valley.
The new authority, based in Morwell, will work with locals and businesses, the Gippsland Regional Partnership and all levels of government to cut red tape and give locals a real say over their future.
To ensure the Latrobe Valley Authority gets to work straight away, the Government has appointed Kylie White, a respected senior public servant with experience in resources and energy, as interim CEO.
For more information about the new Latrobe Valley Authority and the immediate worker support, please go to www.lva.vic.gov.au, visit their office at 131 Princes Drive, Morwell or call 1800 136 762.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“For many families in the Latrobe Valley, there won’t be a tougher day than this.”
“We stood with the people of the Latrobe Valley during the mine fire – and we stand with them now. We will do everything we can to give them the support they need.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan
“This response starts right now, focused on the immediate support workers need.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“The closure of Hazelwood will not affect the security of Victoria’s electricity supply, as the state has multiple sources of generation from coal, gas and wind and can source power from other states if needed.”