The draft Gippsland Transition 2035 plan released by the Latrobe Valley Authority (LVA) has been labelled an underwhelming marketing stunt that lacks accountability.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said the Andrews Government plan should have been a blueprint to transition the Latrobe Valley, instead it’s a lifeless document that fails to commit to one tangible action.
“It’s taken seven years and $300 million for the LVA to produce a ‘vision’ for the region, that is suitable for a glossy travel brochure, but not an economic transition plan.
“There’s an urgency to establish new industries and create sustainable long term replacement jobs for our highly skilled workforce in Latrobe Valley.
“It is highly concerning that the Andrews Government has no plan or timeline for replacement industries and careers.
“We’re haemorrhaging jobs in the Valley and this document does nothing to instil confidence that the Andrews Government has any real solutions.”
Following the Parliamentary Inquiry into the LVA and early closure of power stations it was recommended that the government undertake an analysis of future Latrobe Valley job creation opportunities and prepare a strategic plan for employment.
The Nationals Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron said he had hoped that the Andrews Government would take the job of transition seriously, however the lack of detail in the Transition Plan was concerning.
“This ‘vision’ is just that – a vision. A vision is not a plan. It provides no detail about concrete steps that will be taken to shore-up our local economy, and no detail about how the government’s ‘vision’ will be realised. There is zero commitment to the Valley’s regional development. We need definitive action, and we need it now.
“Locals know the Valley is a great place to live, work and play, but without long-term jobs that complement worker skill-sets people will be forced to leave.
“The latest data shows unemployment in Morwell is 12 per cent, far greater than any other town in regional Victoria.
“Yallourn and Loy Yang A power stations are closing early. Opal’s Maryvale Mill has closed its white copy paper division and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission has announced it’s also leaving the Valley.
“I’m frustrated that there’s no evidence that demonstrates the LVA sought the opinions of workers and their families impacted by job losses and industry closure in the plan’s development – it should have been a priority.
“This has the opportunity to be a catalyst for change, but we need a step-by-step plan that includes objectives, actions, and timeframes for implementation that will hold the government accountable for delivering the just transition that the Valley deserves.”