Last week I visited the Latrobe Valley region and was joined by the member for Morwell and a member for Eastern Victoria Region in the Legislative Council, Melina Bath, in meeting with local business owners and contractors concerned about the impending closure of the Hazelwood power station. The closure of the Hazelwood power station in less than five months will have huge ramifications for the Latrobe Valley economy, with 500 workers and 300 contractors currently employed at the station and the mine. The decision to close Hazelwood is a massive blow to the Latrobe Valley community. There are major concerns in the area, not only for jobs at the power station but also for the many businesses in the region which rely on the power plant for business and the incomes from it to support their businesses.
The members for Morwell and Eastern Victoria Region and I called for local contractors to be given preference for any decommissioning, demolition and rehabilitation works, and a transition plan for all affected. The suggested worker transition would involve employees across the remaining generators in the area being offered voluntary departure packages to open up employment opportunities for displaced Hazelwood workers. We also called for government departments in Latrobe city to be required to review their procurement practices to ensure local businesses are used as preferred suppliers.