Post Pandemic Jobs for East Gippsland by Angela Crunden

First published in the Bairnsdale Advertiser 21 May

As we start to hear promising news about emerging from stage three restrictions, it is a great time to get some inspiration. I had the good fortune to participate along with around 100 other people in the first of six webinars from the Gippsland Smart Futures series. Three large-scale renewable energy companies were show cased, all awaiting final approvals and all promising significant job opportunities. The development of these three inspiring projects will occur from Perry Bridge and westward. It set me to thinking about possibilities for East Gippsland.

It didn’t take long to come up with ideas that would enhance East Gippsland and address the need for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We enjoy a place of great natural beauty that provides endless opportunities to develop tourism. Eco-adventure recreation and heritage restoration projects such as the Omeo mountain bikes trails, the Emerald Link walk and Orbost railway bridge are some examples.

We could extend and improve our public housing stock to address a desperate need. Just last week The Advertiser featured a story on the plight of homeless people in Bairnsdale. We could build 10 star houses for low-income people to live economically, comfortably and with dignity. We could introduce mechanisms to improve the efficiency of existing housing through incentives for improved insulation, glazing, heat pumps and domestic solar generation.

These are small-scale projects that have the added benefit of saving money, greenhouse gas emissions and improving peoples’ lives. Projects of this nature provide much needed employment; boosting demand for our local electricians, plumbers, glaziers- indeed all trades and local businesses. The opportunities are endless but we need government support and money. That’s where the influence of local politicians Tim Bull and Darren Chester is critical.

Post COVID -19, let’s go for a clean green future; one which is more sustainable, stimulates our economy and brings long term gains for this wonderful part of Victoria.