The closure of the Hazelwood Power Station is not only terrible news for the Latrobe Valley, but will put pressure on every Victorian, Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says.
Mrs Britnell said the closure of the plant, which supplies 25 per cent of Victoria’s power, will force up the cost of energy bills and increase the cost of living.
She said the closure has potential impacts for Portland Aluminium which is already facing an uncertain future.
“The smelter uses about 10 per cent of the energy generated in Victoria. A supply contract has lapsed meaning they are now paying more for power, increasing the cost of production,” Mrs Britnell said.
“As energy prices increase further, it will place further pressure on the smelter.
“The smelter supports around 2000 jobs in the region area directly and in-directly. If it were to close, it would devastate the entire south-west community.”
Mrs Britnell said it was imperative Premier Daniel Andrews, Treasurer Tim Pallas and Industry and Employment Minister Wade Noonan came up with a solution to ensure the viability of Portland Aluminium.
“The Government has been caught napping on Hazelwood and now hundreds of jobs will be lost in the Latrobe Valley,” she said.
“If they don’t act now they could be facing the same situation in Portland and have thousands of Victorians out of work.”
Mrs Britnell said increased energy prices would also place further pressure on south-west dairy farmers, who are already dealing with a slump in their market.
“Dairy is an energy intensive industry, the last thing farmers need now is an increase to their power bills,” she said.
“We have already seen that when farmers have less money in their pockets there is a flow on effect to the retail and other sectors placing further pressure on jobs.”