Mr NORTHE (Morwell) — Just weeks ago Hazelwood power station closed its doors, leaving hundreds of workers without a job, and then just last week Carter Holt Harvey, the owners of a Morwell timber mill, also announced that they intended to shut their plant. This is another unprecedented and earth-shattering blow to the Latrobe Valley community, with a further 160 hardworking men and women soon to be unemployed due to the closure of the Carter Holt Harvey mill. This will hit the entire community unimaginably hard. In some cases three members of the one family worked at the mill, the longest being for 28 years. This is just one case of 160 workers about to suffer the burden of finding a new job while the unemployment rate sits at 11.2 per cent in the Latrobe Valley, an increase of 50 per cent under this state government. This unsatisfactory unemployment rate is even before the loss of jobs at Hazelwood station or Carter Holt Harvey is factored in.
Latrobe Valley braces for another harsh and unyielding hit to its economy and the livelihoods of so many. Many remain bewildered as to why the Andrews government has accepted the fact that it cannot save the mill, but is prepared to intervene at Australian Sustainable Hardwoods in Heyfield and Alcoa in Portland. Yet with the mill it sits on its hands and does nothing, just as it did with Hazelwood. These actions, as far as we are concerned, are just proof that this Premier and the government are very willing to say they will fight for every Victorian job, but when it comes down to the fulfilment of this promise they are nowhere to be seen. This is just a hollow promise from a hollow government for the Latrobe Valley community.