Member for Morwell, Russell Northe has today in Question Time raised concerns on the current employment status of former Hazelwood Power Station and Carter Holt Harvey workers and contractors, following the closure of both businesses over the past two years.
Mr Northe had previously obtained information that clearly shows hundreds of former workers are either looking for work or who are employed in non-fulltime positions. (Questions on Notice)
“The State Government had responded to the closure of Hazelwood Power Station by instigating a Worker Transfer Scheme that was designed to facilitate the recruitment of Hazelwood workers and contractors into jobs at the three other power stations in the Latrobe Valley” Mr Northe said.
The Scheme would incentivise the voluntary retirement or resignation of employees at Yallourn, Loy Yang A and Loy Yang B stations, and therefore create vacancies and job opportunities for Hazelwood workers. (https://lva.vic.gov.au/worker-transfer-scheme/)
“The Worker Transfer Scheme was to initially run for a period of two years and I was pleased that today in Question Time the Minister for Jobs, Innovation & Trade confirmed the Scheme has not been closed” said Mr Northe
The State Government had initially committed $20 million to this program, but it remains unclear as to how much funding has been spent on the approximately 90 workers to be re-employed with other local power stations.
“Disappointingly, upon the inception of the Worker Transfer Scheme the Government had stated that 150 workers would be supported but more than two years on, this figure is still a long way from being achieved” Mr Northe said.
The statistics obtained by Mr Northe demonstrate that on the one hand, hundreds of former Hazelwood workers and contractors are seeking employment opportunities, yet on the other hand the State Government has not fulfilled its commitment of 150 workers having the opportunity to participate in the Scheme.
“And despite some confidence that displaced Carter Holt Harvey workers would also be supported through a Worker Transfer Scheme, this never eventuated,” Mr Northe said.