Member for Morwell Russell Northe today used Question Time in State Parliament, to question the Minister for Jobs about the status of the much-heralded and proposed electric vehicle manufacturing facility earmarked for Morwell.
“Today I questioned the Minister in seeking not only an update on whether a site had yet been identified, but also a commitment as to when and if this project is actually proceeding” Mr Northe began.
“This Friday it will be two years since this project was announced with great fanfare and local community support, but since this time there has been scant detail or information released by the Government regarding this important commitment, which is extremely concerning and disappointing” Mr Northe said.
During the 2018 election period the Government announced plans for substantial investment into this brand-new facility, which was to be built by 2021 and create 500 jobs. At the time, the Premier said;
“The Latrobe Valley is set to become the capital of electric vehicle manufacturing in Australia, with the Andrews Labor Government providing support that will create hundreds of new jobs, help boost the local economy and support workers transition to new industries”. (ref) “This is a vital project for the Latrobe Valley community given ongoing unemployment challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic which has meant that local jobs are more important than ever during these tough economic challenges” Mr Northe said.
“The Government gave an assurance and commitment prior to the 2018 election, that the Latrobe Valley would be the capital of electric vehicle manufacturing and if this is now not the case then the Government owes it to our community to say so” Mr Northe continued.
“There has been a vacuum of information for two years now, which is incredibly frustrating for local residents and businesses who believed this initiative would provide a timely boost for our region, but that now seems in jeopardy” Mr Northe said.
In his reply to the Questions posed, the Minister noted ongoing disputes between the proponents and Government Departments, and was unable to give a commitment if the facility would proceed.
“It’s so disappointing that two years down the track and after such initial positivity that it seems this commitment may not be delivered as promised which is a bitter blow for the local community and for local jobs” Mr Northe concluded.