Mr NORTHE (Morwell) — The prospect of thousands of workers within the Latrobe Valley losing their jobs at the end of March next year is deeply disturbing for so many local residents. With less than five months until the closure of the Hazelwood power station, workers, contractors and local businesses face an uncertain future, particularly given the lack of a plan in place to support and assist those impacted. Some of the initiatives proposed by unions, trade councils and the community more generally need urgent attention and implementation to minimise the harm that Labor’s policy will cause in our community.
Unfortunately another of our large employers faces some significant challenges. Australian Paper employs thousands of local people directly and indirectly, yet we now have Banyule City Council banning the purchase of Reflex paper, which is currently manufactured at Australian Paper’s Maryvale mill in the Latrobe Valley. What an outrageous decision! Even a concerned Ivanhoe resident, Roger Fyfe, hit the nail on the head when he was quoted as saying that:
the pledge puts more than 1000 jobs at risk in the Latrobe Valley, where Australian Paper is based.
Mr Fyfe also said:
After the closure of the Hazelwood power station, the last thing the Latrobe Valley needs right now is pressure put on another major employer for political purposes …
Then we have the likes of the Wilderness Society calling for the creation of the great forest national park, which will threaten the future supply of timber to Australian Paper and in turn put local jobs at risk. If Daniel Andrews is fair dinkum about fighting for Latrobe Valley jobs, then he needs to rule out the creation of the great forest national park now.