Environment Victoria has welcomed a small additional investment in the Latrobe Valley Authority (LVA) while cautioning that it doesn’t go far enough to provide the community with long-term certainty as the shift from coal to renewables gathers pace.
“It’s good to see the Andrews government backing the Latrobe Valley Authority with $7.5 million in the upcoming budget, including developing a transition plan for the region,” said Latrobe Valley Community Organiser Hayley Sestokas.
“However, today’s announcement doesn’t match the scale of the energy transition or provide long-term certainty to the community. The Latrobe Valley deserves a long-term commitment and multi-year funding, not just one-off announcements.
“At the moment, the LVA is like a worker on a short-term contract, not knowing if that contract will be renewed each year. Anyone who has been in that situation knows how stressful and uncertain it is.
“After many years of this arrangement, it’s time to give the Latrobe Valley Authority a permanent, long-term role planning the transition. That means funding the LVA until the last power station closes and the mines are rehabilitated.
“We’d also like to see more details of the transition plan, which must commit to strong community leadership and participation. The transition plan should acknowledge that Latrobe Valley coal power stations are now forecast to close much sooner than their official closure dates.
“The Australian Energy Market Operator has forecast all Victorian brown coal power stations will be closed by 2032, and the Latrobe Valley urgently needs a comprehensive community-led transition plan in place well before then.
“The Andrews government has announced a nation-leading offshore wind target that could create up to 6000 long-term jobs, many of those in Gippsland. We’d like to see how that relates to a transition plan for the Latrobe Valley and what training is needed to help coal workers move into new industries.
“With the State Budget due in early May, we look forward to seeing other funding commitments for transition in the Latrobe Valley.”
Greg Foyster, Campaigns Manager
Ph: 0410 879 031