Gippsland › Latest news › Russel Northe MLA
Sea electric vehicle manufacturing plant for Latrobe Valley abandoned
State Government has finally confirmed that the proposed SEA Electric vehicle manufacturing plant.
Unfortunately, the State Government has finally confirmed that the proposed SEA Electric vehicle manufacturing plant earmarked to be built in Morwell will not proceed. It's a disappointing outcome to say the least for a community that has been through so much in recent years.
The massive new facility will allow SEA to boost production of electric delivery vans and minibuses to meet growing demand across Australia
Local enterprises to grow and expand
This project promised so much and given it was backed by the government there was confidence and hope that it would reinvigorate the region following the closure of major energy and timber businesses such as Hazelwood Power Station and Carter Holt Harvey. Whilst I am not surprised that the government has finally conceded this project is no more, it certainly leaves many frustrated, disappointed and disenchanted with what has transpired.
This initiative was announced with great fanfare prior to the 2018 election and was supported across the political spectrum and by the community. People feel let down and quite reasonably ask why the project was even announced if the Government couldn't deliver it.
The Government has to do all in its power to not only consider alternate options of attracting another manufacturer or other industries to the valley whilst assisting local enterprises to grow and expand so we can create employment opportunities.
Local jobs promised
The SEA electric vehicle manufacturing initiative according to the government promised 500 local jobs, and today feels like we have actually lost 500 jobs. The reality is these jobs are desperately needed as we grapple with the consequences of COVID; the closure of Hazelwood Power Station; the closure of Carter Holt Harvey and the pending closure of Yallourn Power Station.
As you will note from my questions and subsequent answers received from the Minister for Industry in Parliament in October of 2020 the project was already on its knees, but nonetheless to receive formal notification that this won't proceed is a kick in the guts for our community given the promises made, particularly around new local jobs.
Secured for the important commitment
Mr Northed asked the minister, "My question is to the Minister for the coordination of Jobs, precincts and regions: COVID19. Minister, this Friday marks two years to the day since the state government announced that the Latrobe Valley was set to become the capital of electric vehicle manufacturing in Australia. It was also stated that 500 local jobs would be created, and that the facility would be established by 2021."
"Given ongoing high unemployment in my community, which has been exacerbated by the significant economic downturn and hardships associated with the COVID-19 restrictions, this project is vital in helping the Latrobe Valley get back on its feet. So, Minister, can you advise if land has even been secured for this important commitment?" Mr Northe asked.
Grant agreement signed
Mr Pakula answered, "I thank the member for Morwell for his question. Without his having named it, I am presuming he is referring to the SEA Electric project, and I will endeavour to provide the member with the advice that I can, given that it falls within the ministerial responsibility of the Minister for Regional Development, who is the minister responsible for the Latrobe Valley Authority and for this project."
"But I do have some familiarity with it, given that Mr Leptos - who at least was the chairman of the company, I am not sure if he still is - has been a rather regular correspondent with a number of people. It is true that the progress on that project has not been what the government hoped it to be when the grant agreement was signed back in
The fact of the matter is that there has been some disagreement between the government and the company in regard to whether or not milestones have been reached by the company. It is, I think, a matter of some contest. It remains a matter of some contest, so I do not want to go into the details of that - again, as it is within the responsibility of Minister Symes.
But the department's view is certainly that some milestones in the grant agreement have not been reached and therefore the milestone payments that would correspond with those milestones have not been paid. There are, of course, difficulties in global business conditions, and so that is to some extent understandable. I am advised by the department that they continue to work with the company in good faith in regard to that.
As for the site, it is my understanding, again from discussions, that there have been some ongoing conversations between not just the state and SEA Electric but also Latrobe City Council with regard to the signing of a lease for a site. Those conversations are progressing, but they have not been concluded.
No updates or communication
Mr Northe again asked, "The electric vehicle manufacturing facility proposal earmarked for Morwell was extremely well received by our local community and across the political spectrum at the time. However, since 30 October 2018 there have been little or no updates or communication as to the status of the project, and now there is strong speculation that this proposal is not proceeding at all."
"So, Minister, can you advise the Latrobe Valley community if this proposed SEA Electric vehicle, a manufacturing facility that promised 500 local jobs will still be built in Morwell - yes or no?" Mr Northe asked.
Hopeful of a resolution
Mr Pakula answered, "I thank the honourable member for his supplementary question. No, I am not in a position to provide that sort of categorical answer for the two reasons that I have already outlined. One is that the project falls within the responsibility of the Minister for Regional Development, and she and her office and that part of the department have been the ones who have been primarily engaging with SEA Electric."
"Secondly, as I indicated in my substantive answer, there are some disagreements, as I understand it, between the government and the company in regard to whether or not certain milestones have been achieved, and I understand that those discussions are ongoing. So, at some point, understandably, those conversations will reach a conclusion at which point the answer to your question, I suppose, will become clearer. But at this stage those discussions continue to occur in good faith, and I think the parties remain hopeful of a resolution."
For more information, visit Electrifying Boost to Jobs in the Latrobe Valley.
Pictures from SEA Electric Facebook page.
Published by: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Latrobe City community invited to 'Buy a Seat' to support local theatre at Gippsland Performing Arts Centre
Program aims to support free education and public programs, helping to provide greater access to our community.
- Darren Chester says Latrobe Valley owed explanation from Dan Andrews on failed promise for 500 electric vehicle manufacturing jobs
Latrobe Valley community wants to know why members of the parliament refuse to participate in a local task force.
- Restoring Victoria to manufacturing powerhouse with $2.5 billion rebuilding jobs, bringing Manufacturing Home Fund
A vibrant manufacturing sector is critically important to help our state recover and rebuild and Globally, manufacturing is transforming rapidly, and Victoria must keep up.
- Promised plant nursery with 30 jobs for Nowa Nowa scrapped by Andrews Labor government
The State Government's promise to establish a nursery employing 30 people in Nowa Nowa has, as many expected, been scrapped, in fact, it never progressed beyond the media release.
- Latrobe Valley paper will continue to be sent by rail for export and distribution as key Gippsland freight service gets stimulus for Victorian government
Improvements on train tracks that will help ensure its daily runs.
- Envite Environment in Nowa Nowa protecting rare plant Boggy Creek Bottlebrush with Bushfire Recovery Grant funding via Landcare Australia
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester (left) with Abi Wills and Matt Kennedy from Envite Environment at Nowa Nowa where a rare species of callistemon is being mapped and protected.
- Latrobe City preschool children support people living with Motor Neurone disease
Fund raising activity to support and raise awareness for the debilitating diseases, Frontotemporal Dementia and Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
- Support for Gippsland manufacturers to create jobs via Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI)
Funding and support to boost manufacturing sector and guidelines for support application.
- Stars align in Latrobe Valley as Women's Big Bash Cricket featuring home-grown Nicole Faltum heads to Moe
The Big Bash summer of cricket will sizzle in the City of Latrobe with the Melbourne Stars to make their WBBL debut at Moe's Ted Summerton Oval on October 23 and 24.
- DASMA in Morwell to innovate waste management principles with $2.1M from Cooperative Research Centres Projects
A Morwell based company will develop and incorporate new processes of utilising recovered materials across the supply chain thanks to Federal Government funding.
- Friends of the Sale Botanic Gardens in Wellington Shire plant collection of rare and threatened species for display
Parks staff from Wellington Shire Council recently rolled up their sleeves alongside Friends of the Sale Botanic Gardens to plant a collection of rare and threatened species found in the region.
- Gippsland and Latrobe Valley to benefit from federal Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs fund
The Federal Government's $1.2 billion hydrogen investment is set to boost economic activity and jobs in regional Australia.
- Latrobe City Council seeks to attract manufacturers for Australian Defence Force to Latrobe Valley
Latrobe City Council is seeking to raise the City’s manufacturing profile by contacting businesses in the defence supply chain from across Australia, with the intent of attracting new opportunities to the municipality.
- Latrobe City Business Chamber formed to bring together local valley businesses and industry groups
Latrobe City Council is supporting the creation of a single business association to strengthen the voice of the business community.
- Latrobe City Council calls government to back recovery of Traralgon Showgrounds community groups from 2021 storm and flood event
Calling on the State and Federal Governments to back a plan to help community groups based at Traralgon Recreation Reserve and Showgrounds.
- Not clear how Gippsland and Latrobe Valley hospitals performing during a pandemic after health services fail to finalise annual reports
The community has no clear idea of how local regional hospitals are performing during a pandemic after nearly 60 country health services failed to finalise their annual reports.
- Outrageous proposed laws by Andrews government allows Premier to lockdown without warning and if no pandemic disease in Victoria
New legislation before the Victorian Parliament is seeking to permanently enshrine government over-reach into the lives and livelihoods of regional Victorians.
- Baw Baw Shire and Latrobe City Council get extra $13,200 from state government 'Municipal Emergency Resourcing Program'
Eastern Victorian Councils will receive more funding to help them prepare for and respond to emergencies thanks to a funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government.
- More jobs in Latrobe Valley as Govhub opens for business
GovHub to open and create more jobs in the community and support economic growth.
- Latrobe City Council calls for Victorian government to support for timber industry
Release of code of practice for timber industry that has been on a long delayed by the state government.
- Latrobe City Council calls to preserve Lake Narracan following the closure of Yallourn Power Station in 2028
Latrobe City Council will make a submission to the State Government calling to preserve Lake Narracan's weir and water levels following the closure of Yallourn Power Station in 2028.
- Latrobe City to continue to operate the Moe and Yallourn North outdoor pools
Latrobe City Council will continue to operate the Moe and Yallourn North Outdoor Pools following a review of the 2020/21 season.
- Latrobe City Council submits to inquiry into impacts of Hazelwood and Yallourn power stations closures
Latrobe City Council will advocate for greater Government support for the municipality to help the region transition with less power stations.
- Latrobe City Transition Taskforce to be established to help minimise the effects of the closure of power stations
Latrobe City Council is acting now to minimise the significant effects of the closure of power stations upon the municipality in the future.
- Latrobe City Youth Council inviting new members for 2022
Latrobe City Youth Council is seeking new members for the 2022 term to build their leadership skills, make new connections and provide input into Council's decision making
- Latrobe Regional Airport looking to take-off under plan that sets out a long-term framework for development
Council seeking expansion development opportunities for Latrobe Regional Airport that will help them support and grow the aviation operations.
- Latrobe Regional Gallery July 2021
Update on the Latrobe Regional Performing Arts series or activities.
- Latrobe Regional Gallery in Morwell plans large exhibition to celebrate 50th birthday
Exhibition to be held in celebrating Latrobe Regional Gallery's 50th birthday.
- Latrobe Regional Hospital to host Mind Australia pop-up community mental health service and cater to Gippsland
Additional funding to support the mental health workforce for better and more accessible services as the Latrobe Regional Hospital to host one of the pop-up community mental health services.
- More ambulances and paramedics for Latrobe Valley from Andrews Labor government
More ambulances and paramedics for the Latrobe Valley to ensure locals get the best care.
- Latrobe Regional Performing Arts July 2021
Series of new events and performance at Latrobe Performing Arts Centre for the month of July.
- Latrobe Regional Hospital expands Mobile Targeted Assertive Outreach mental health team
Government investment for services and support for young Victorians.
- Federal government grants MediPharm Labs in Wonthaggi to $466,577 and create more local manufacturing jobs
Grant to modernize a local company, MediPharm Labs to create greater efficiency and competitiveness.
- Latrobe City calls for input into storm and review of flood response to learn lessons for next time
Storm and flood clean-up program funded by the government to provide service to property owners affected by storm and flooding without any cost.
- Latrobe Regional Gallery August 2021
50 Years: 50 Artists is a major exhibition to commemorate 50 years of Latrobe Regional Gallery from 4 September to 7 November
- Latrobe City Council adopts a 2021/25 Council Plan and 2022/31 Financial Plan with notes on impact from Yallourn Power Station closure
Community sets course for the future.
- Latrobe City Transition Taskforce starts on plan to move away from traditional power generation and a reduced timber industry
Taskforce establishment to plan for the economic diversification and investment opportunirties.
- Latrobe City reminding businesses they can still access help from being affected by COVID-19 pandemic
Programs that could help local business owners in improving their businesses.
- Latrobe City Council re-opens Cumberland Park kindergarten after negative results for COVID-19
Identified close contact resulted negative from COVID-19.
- Latrobe City Youth Council encourages healthy eating with 'Fab food marvellous mood' campaign'
Food campaign to help educate the young people about healthy diet that lead to happier and healthier mental and physical wellness.
- Anglicare Victoria continues to supporting young people in Latrobe Valley stay away from crime via Youth Crime Prevention Grants program
Through the Andrews Labor Government Youth Crime Prevention Grants program (YCPG), Anglicare Victoria has been awarded $350,000 to continue helping young people find pathways away from offending.
- Latrobe City Council announces community representatives for safety committee
Council announcing the representative of the new community safety committee.
- Northe calls for Gippsland hospice care facility in Latrobe Valley and proposed Hazelwood House in Churchill
Message from Mr Russell Northe MP to Gippsland Hospice Family to advocate for the consideration of a dedicated hospice for the region.
- Demolishing of Latrobe City Visitor Information Centre building decision triggers community meeting
Council attended a meeting organised and led by the community to discuss the future of the Latrobe Visitor Information Centre building, the former Methodist Church.
- Baw Baw and Latrobe City community organisations share over $1.3 million funding from Shade Grants program
Ensuring the community from the harmful rays of the sun.
- Summer fun at Latrobe City libraries with Return Yourself to the Library and 'Big Summer Read' programs
Encouraging children not to just go back to the library but also to borrow and read books.
- State government recycling plan to significantly impact Bass Coast Shire Council approach to waste over next ten years
Reforms that are going to significantly impact Bass Coast's approach to waste in the coming years.
- Darren Chester urges all government levels to fund redevelopment of Latrobe City Sports and Entertainment Stadium in Morwell
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester is urging all levels of government to work together and fund the redevelopment of the Latrobe City Sports and Entertainment Stadium in Morwell.
- Statewide lockdowns Labor government are killing communities across Victoria including Gippsland
Decision to call for state lockdown keeps bringing Victorians out of work and resources.
- Free pair of glasses for 176 students across West Gippsland and Latrobe Valley from Andrews Labor Victorian government
One thousand more Victorian students can now see more clearly and concentrate better at school, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government's free Glasses for Kids program.
- Robert Burns of Churchill promotes Latrobe City for 20 years as volunteer at local visitor information centre
Latrobe City Council has commemorated the contribution of a volunteer who has given 20 years of service.
- Labertouche Community Hall gets lovingly restored through the Latrobe Valley Authority,s Community and Facility Fund
Labertouche Community Hall has been lovingly restored with a new roof, ceiling and floor, thanks to support from the Andrews Labor Government.
- Federal government' Financial Assistance Grant 2021-22 second payment for Bass Coast, Baw Baw, Latrobe City and South Gippsland Shire Councils
Local governments in Monash have received their second 2021-22 quarterly payment through the Federal Government's Financial Assistance Grant program.
- Russell Northe calls for funding for Latrobe City Sports and Entertainment Stadium to become football centre of excellence
Call for government funding to utilise the sports entertainment centre and give good potential to help make Gippsland to become the football heartland.
- Health Advocate Jane Anderson re-appointed by state government to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Latrobe Valley
The Victorian Government is ensuring the right leadership is in place to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the Latrobe Valley.
- Victorian growers need thousands - not hundreds - of workers to meet workforce demand
An extended seasonal worker deal with Tasmania will finally deliver workers into Victoria, but it will do little to fill the yawning shortage of pickers across the state.
- Help catalogue biodiversity in Latrobe City as part of Great Southern BioBlitz 2021
The hunt is on to catalogue and celebrate Latrobe City's biodiversity as the Great Southern BioBlitz 2021 blooms across the hemisphere.
- Northe puts dedicated hospice facility in the Latrobe Valley back on the agenda
Member for Morwell Russell Northe has this week in parliament called upon the Health Minister and the Government to commit to establishing a dedicated hospice facility in the Latrobe Valley.
- Gippsland government schools can apply for state funded solar panels through Greener Government School Buildings program
Applications for the school solar panel system are now open.
- Landmark $30M multi-use community precinct state government funding for the heart of Warragul being pursued by Baw Baw Shire Council
Council to pursue support from the state and federal government for the multi-use community precinct that will help in the economic development and will also benefit the region.
- Tilly's Dream and Churchill North Primary School in Latrobe City get $110,000 boost for child care services
Two childcare providers in the Latrobe Valley have received a welcome funding boost to meet the needs of local families.
- Innovation centre boosts the Latrobe Valley economy
Innovation centre that helps in boosting the creation of jobs and the region's economy, supporting the development that is beneficial to the valley.
- Baw Baw Shire Council secures $824,000 state government funding for road upgrades to Jacksons Track near Labertouche
Baw Baw Shire Council has secured $824,000 in State Government funding to carry out major road upgrades to Jacksons Track near Labertouche.
- Andrews Labor Government finally taking a limited approach to lockdown and reduce damage to regional communities
Labor government finally taking limited approach to lockdown.
- Victorian Liberal Nationals announce commitment to deliver largest ever investment in manufacturing
The Liberal Nationals are proposing a $1 billion fund to encourage businesses to bring facilities and jobs back to Victoria, grow local manufacturing and boost innovation economy.
- Grants for creative workers open from state government' 'Sustaining Creative Workers' initiative
The Victorian Government's Sustaining Creative Workers initiative is now open for applications, providing critical support to Victoria's independent creative sector when they need it most.
- Reinstate density limits and not patron caps for safe reopening of regional hospitality venues
Victorian Government has been urged to reinstate density limits, not patron caps, for the safe reopening of regional hospitality venues
- Low indigenous vaccination rates risk widening the gap in Latrobe Valley and Gippsland
Vaccine hesitancy and testing hesitancy in Victoria's Indigenous communities' risks pushing people further into disadvantage under the Andrews Labor Government's plan to offer more freedoms to people who are fully-vaccinated.
- Moe Play Space in Apex Park gets changing places accessible toilet from Latrobe City Council with $110,000 from Victorian government
Funding received from the government for changing areas at Apex Park.
- Lower speeds reduce to 40 km/hr in Latrobe City CBD's to improve safety
Speed limits will be reduced to 40 kilometres per hour across the central business districts.
- State lifeline needed to make sure Victorian agricultural shows survive
Victoria's agricultural shows and field days are desperate for a financial lifeline to ensure their survival into next year as COVID uncertainty continues to force more cancellations.
- Independent MPs help Labor make it harder to own a home in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland
Independent MPs have joined with Labor MPs to pass a new housing tax.
- Funding $2.69 million goes to four major Gippsland businesses and Latrobe City Council via Regional Recovery Fund
The Andrews Labor Government is accelerating regional Victoria's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by investing in Eastern Victoria to create jobs and stimulate the local economy.
- Tim Bull Statement on Fingerboards Mineral Sands project not proceeding in its current form in 2021
The proposed Fingerboards Mineral Sands Mine near Bairnsdale will not proceed in its current form.
- Andrews Labor Government provides more support service for LGBTIQ+ community in Morwell
The Andrews Labor Government is providing more support to LGBTIQ+ Victorians and their family in the Latrobe Valleywith new free counselling at Anglicare Victoria.
Latest NewsMoe Play Space in Apex Park gets changing places accessible toilet from Latrobe City Council with $110,000 from Victorian government
Work begins on 360 metre rock revetment wall along Cowes East Foreshore by Bass Coast Shire Council
Baw Baw Shire Council gets $360,000 additional disaster recovery funding to support community long term recovery from 2019 bushfire
Green light for Australia Day celebrations to go ahead in Latrobe City
Join in the Australia Day celebrations across Baw Baw Shire
Newhaven jetty on Bass Coast is ready for renewal
Over 200 people attend Saturday Australia Day Celebrations at Nowa Nowa Recreation Reserve
Wellington Shire Council holds workshops for local business local businesses to reset and re-energise with new ideas for 2022
Applications open for Gippsland Recycling centres grants up to $500,000 from Victorian government $40.9M Regional Recycling Fund
Carol Blair from San Remo is 2022 Bass Coast Citizen of the Year