Voices of the Valley Media Release (Wendy Farmer)

Wendy Farmer (Guardian)
Wendy Farmer (Guardian)

Voices of the Valley calls for $40 million Latrobe Valley transition package to be spent in Latrobe Valley. The Victorian government recently announced that the $40 million package dedicated by Daniel Andrews to fund transition in the Latrobe Valley would be split, with money from the package now also going to Wellington and Baw Baw Shire.

Community group Voices of the Valley expressed disappointment and exasperation at this announcement, stating that the Latrobe Valley has been let down by the government, and are calling on Daniel Andrews to keep his promise that the $40 million is dedicated solely to economic transition in the Valley.

“When Daniel Andrews announced the $40 million package in April we were relieved that the Latrobe Valley was to receive real support for transition,” said Wendy Farmer, President of Voices of the Valley. It is very disappointing and exasperating to hear that the package dedicated to Latrobe Valley is now being split up. We are trying to transition a community who has lived through privatisation and now faces the imminent closure of Hazelwood. The Andrews government must keep their promise to the Latrobe Valley.”

The State government’s decision to divide up the dedicated package was that some people who work in the Valley live in these areas. Farmer responded to this reasoning saying, “surrounding areas should be supported by the state government, but not at the expense of the Latrobe Valley community. The entire Gippsland community will benefit from a properly financially supported Latrobe Valley as it transitions from the coal industry, just as it has always benefitted from the presence of the power industry here.”

Voices of the Valley are calling on Daniel Andrews and Wade Noonan to commit the $40 million to the Latrobe Valley region, and to find the funding for Wellington and Baw Baw Shire from elsewhere. “We are trying to transition a community and maintain an economy, and with the imminent closure of Hazelwood it is time for the State Government to wholeheartedly support Latrobe Valley. The Andrew’s government has a unique opportunity to lead the way in community transition and make the Latrobe Valley a good example of how government and community can work together through transition. It is more than disappointing that Mr Andrews and Mr Noonan already watering down promises they made to genuinely support the Latrobe Valley.”