Mr NORTHE (Morwell) — Over recent weeks I have spoken to and been contacted by a number of individuals, workers, contractors and businesses who are deeply concerned about the pending closure of Hazelwood power station. In less than four months time Hazelwood is scheduled to close, yet there are a myriad questions that remain unanswered. Many of the workers are desperate to know if they will have a job come 31 March next year and how they will meet their financial obligations, particularly those with young families. Contractors are contemplating what staff they might have to let go as the work they have historically serviced across the energy sector will now be reduced. Indeed I have been contacted by employees of some of these contractors who have already been told they no longer have a job. Many business owners who service Hazelwood directly and/or indirectly are nervous about their future as expenditure within the Latrobe Valley community is about to reduce substantially. And what is the future of Hazelwood Pondage stakeholders such as Latrobe Valley Yacht Club, Sailability and tenants and visitors at the on-site caravan park and camping ground? Victorians have concerns with respect to energy security for this state, along with the massive energy price increases consumers are now confronted with.
Despite these legitimate issues being raised continually, the Andrews government continues to deflect any responsibility, while imposing massive taxes on Latrobe Valley generators and having a policy to close Hazelwood power station. The current response to Hazelwood’s closure is not acceptable to so many people in my community, and I, and we, will continue to fight for a better outcome for workers, contractors, businesses and the community more broadly.