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Gippsland Portal Feature:
Community conversations about possible Hazelwood Closure

Federal and State Government can help the #LatrobeValley community in Gippsland through a "Just Transition" of the #BrownCoal industry. If they work together and commit the billions of dollars and allocate the resources needed.

By Portal Admin - 3rd October 2016 - Back to News

A central principle of the Paris Agreement signed by Malcolm Turnbull on behalf of Australia is that Government must ensure that the transition to a clean energy future is a "Just Transition" for impacted workers and communities

Josh Frydenberg (Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy) has not yet met with stakeholders in the Latrobe Valley but discussions have been had about a Just Transition with the following;

  • Daniel Andrews (Victorian Premier)
  • Lily D'Ambrosio (Minister for Energy, Environment & Climate Change, Suburban Development)
  • Wade Noonan (Minister for Industry & Employment, Minister for Resources)
  • Jaala Pulford (Minister for Agriculture)
  • Harriet Shing (MLC for Eastern Victoria)
  • Gippsland Trades and Labour Council, Latrobe City Council and other Community leaders

  • This has been an attempt to help save this region from the uncertainty of the BrownCoal Energy industry transition, specifically relating to Hazelwood and Yallourn Power Stations and Mines and possible closures over the coming years.

    The initial government feedback regarding support is very good but the pressure will need to be maintained to ensure an unprecedented commitment of funds and resources to our area of Latrobe Valley (Morwell, Traralgon, Moe, Churchill, Yallourn North, Yinnar, Glengarry, Tyers, Trafalgar, Yarragon, Drouin, Warragul) and the wider Gippsland area.

    Some ideas;

      1. Energy Industry Transition Framework is needed to facilitate existing power workers moving from a closing power station or mine to an active one. Ensure local residents are given priority for new jobs created by this process.
      This will help maintain the existing community and local housing prices and linked council revenue through Rates, which will be needed by local government to help our same community.

      2. Create a BrownCoal Transition Group located in Latrobe Valley to co-ordinate the closures in a planned way such as a multi phased closure coordinated with the creation of jobs.
      The group membership needs to consist of Federal, State, local Council, Unions, Industry, Educational, Community representatives and subject matter experts like Frank Jotzo and the like.

      3. Build a Genuine World Class, High Speed Rail (HSR) that operates between Pakenham - Warragul - Traralgon - Sale. Create a transfer Hub at Pakenham to enable integration and lower costs. This will also help maintain the community, housing prices and linked council revenue.

      (A Melbourne to Sydney HSR, adds unnecessary costs and attracts the involvement of the Airline Industry lobbyists and their negative publicity campaigns.)

      4. Build a new Gas pipeline from Sale's Longford Gas plant to Hazelwood and Yallourn Power Stations, alongside the old one,to allow boiler conversion from Coal to Gas generation. This was fully researched in 2008. This helps employment at both ends of the Gas pipeline, creates needed infrastructure security and prevents the need to do coal seam gas (CSG) or fracking. This would also reduce the reliance on running Melbourne's Newport Gas Power station which caused protests and police clashes around 1975 and halted the expansion.

      5. Develop a Green Technology Centre dealing in Wind Turbines, Blades and other technologies in Morwell behind MidValley where an existing rail siding exists and integrate it with the high speed rail (HSR) to be used at night and during off peak periods. This needs to be done in conjunction with the regional Education links through Federation Training TAFE campuses and local Engineering firms.

      This has been done successfully elsewhere in the world by speaking with OEM's.

    Lets all hope for the sake of our families and future generations that the Federal and State Governments can work together, through the issues with the Latrobe Valley stakeholders, for a genuine "Just Transition" of the #BrownCoal industry as we inch towards the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the SECV in 2020.

    We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the SECV Privatisation and the resulting socioeconomic problems of the 1990's and Victoria does not need the complications that the South Australia energy industry has been experiencing over recent years.

    FYI Australia Institute used official figures to calculate that the cost of electricity increased by 170 per cent from 1995 to 2012 - four times higher than the rise in the consumer price index.**

    We need job creation, not charity!

    Mark Richards


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