Mr NORTHE (Morwell) — In 51 days the Hazelwood power station will close its doors, and the impact on many workers, contractors and local families will be simply devastating. The reality has really set in for those who have already lost their jobs and those who are about to lose their jobs. Many casual staff and contractors who provided their services to Hazelwood have not had work for weeks, and this will be compounded further when they are joined by hundreds of other permanent casual workers who will not have a job on 1 April. There is a real sense of anger and frustration within the Latrobe Valley community right now.
To close this station within five months is a bitter pill to swallow for so many who will be left with substantial financial commitments and no job. The fact the state government just last year imposed an additional $252 million of taxes on Latrobe Valley generators just defies logic and belief. The same government then paint themselves as the saviours by providing a rescue package of nearly the same amount of money. Talk about take it in the one hand and give it from the other!
We know the Labor Party wanted to close Hazelwood, and they promised it would be a gradual closure, but we are not even getting that. Workers, contractors and local businesses believe that there are two key initiatives that must be adopted: to close Hazelwood gradually and to implement a pooled redundancy scheme for workers. Anything less will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs, the energy security of Victoria being threatened and the cost of electricity going through the roof for home owners and businesses. That is bad news for all Victorians, including all within the Latrobe Valley.