Melina Bath, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria, and David Southwick, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Energy & Resources and Renewables, have toured the disused Morwell power station site and called for the recent heritage overlay to be removed.
In doing so, the Liberal Nationals have added their support to a proposal from Coal Energy Australia to revitalise the site’s briquette factory, along with the associated demolition of the adjacent power station.
The power station structure is riddled with asbestos, with an estimated cost of $80 million to make the site safe. With a heritage overlay and the power station remaining, the Coal Energy Australia proposal for the briquette factory would not go ahead.
“We really need a sensible approach to rebuilding the economy in the Latrobe Valley,” Ms Bath said. “This project of Coal Energy Australia must be supported.”
Ms Bath noted that the visit to the site was taking place on the same day that national retailer Target had announced it would not be renewing its lease at Mid Valley shopping centre, after 30 years in the location.
“The predicted ripple effect of the Hazelwood closure is being seen more and more, and this news from Target is another example.”
“The heritage overlay at this derelict site must be removed so the briquette factory can be rejuvenated. There is no $80 million to remediate the power station. It should be safely demolished.”
The Shadow Minister said he was excited by the innovative prospects for the site.
“Victoria needs long-term jobs focusing on innovation and new business opportunities,” Mr Southwick said.
“This region has the skills and the infrastructure; with a sensible approach we can position the Latrobe Valley as a hub for brown coal and energy innovation.”
“The briquette works provides an exciting opportunity and rather than allowing these machines to sit here and rust, let’s get them turned on and create employment in the Valley once again.”