48 hours after being appointed Shadow Minister for Energy and Renewables, today I visited Yallourn Power Station together with Opposition Leader, Michael O’Brien, Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood and Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath.
We heard firsthand from Yallourn workers, some who have been working at that site for more than 40 years and another third generation employee.
What these workers need from the Andrews Labor Government is certainty about their future. They’re not looking for a hand-out but rather a hand-up. They need to know that there are major projects and industries to transition to in the Latrobe Valley, following the announcement that the station will close four years earlier than expected in 2028.
We know that the Andrews Labor Government has failed to find full-time employment for hundreds of sacked Hazelwood workers. The Liberal Nationals don’t want to see Yallourn workers treated in the same unjust and unfair way.
Energy Australia has fronted up $10 million for an employee support package but the Andrews Labor Government has not committed a cent.
The obvious question is: Why won’t Labor support Yallourn workers?
The Liberal Nationals are not waiting for the 2022 election to offer these workers opportunity for their future. We have already committed to invest in energy from waste facilities that will both add power to the grid and eliminate household rubbish being sent to landfill by 2035. Again, the State Government is silent on this proposal.
More than 500 people work at Yallourn and the plant can invest $300 million in the Latrobe Valley economy in any given year. Its closure in 2028 will have a significant and devastating impact on the people of the Latrobe Valley.
The Liberal Nationals call on the Andrews Labor Government to front up and support Yallourn workers. The time to act and provide certainty for them and the Latrobe Valley region is now.