Gippsland has the potential to lead Australia in the development of hydrogen technology and re-emerge as a centre for innovation and manufacturing excellence.
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria Peter Walsh was in Latrobe Valley today to talk hydrogen planes and transitioning the region, meeting with Gippsland Circular Economy Precinct Pty Ltd. (GCEP) alongside The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath.
GCEP is a consortium of Gippsland businesses investigating renewable manufacturing opportunities in the local region.
Mr Walsh said it’s critically important to identify and support growth opportunities and innovation in manufacturing for Latrobe Valley’s highly skilled workforce.
“High level power generation, engineering and manufacturing expertise within the Latrobe Valley must be supported so they locals have a secure future in their home region,” Mr Walsh said.
“As the Andrews Government continues to force the early closure of power stations, it must do more to support local manufacturing and create sustainable, highly skilled long term jobs in Latrobe Valley.
“Latrobe Valley has a readily available resource and developing green hydrogen technology from coal resources presents a new opportunity for the region.
“Gippsland manufacturers are world class and the Andrews Government must invest in green technologies.”
Ms Bath said the Andrews Government clearly doesn’t have a plan to rebuild Latrobe Valley or the local economy.
“The Latrobe Valley has suffered wide sweeping job losses under Daniel Andrews with more to come as the closure date of Yallourn Power Station has been brought forward by four years,” Ms Bath said.
“Latrobe Valley is a fabulous place to work, live and raise a family, but if there is a dearth of secure and skilled jobs, families will leave the area.
“The Latrobe Valley Authority was created by Daniel Andrews to transition the region, but it has failed to create skilled industry jobs to which power station workers can transition.
“Hydrogen technologies have the potential to help grow regional jobs through the local manufacturing of hydrogen fuel cells and even hydrogen planes – putting Latrobe Valley on the world stage.”
Mr Walsh said Latrobe Valley required targeted investment to help projects such as GCEP establish.
“The Nationals in government have committed to establish a $1 billion fund to support Victorian manufacturers and to help local industry grow,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Nationals’ pledge to establish a $1 billion fund would encourage businesses to bring manufacturing back to Victoria and create jobs through innovation and investment in research and development.”