Urgency Motion on the Latrobe Valley - Passed at ALP Victoria State Conference

Published: 12 Nov 2016

Pre-amble

The closure of Hazelwood power station and mine, an employer of nearly 1,000 people, marks a critical point for the Latrobe Valley.

The Andrews Labor Government is to be commended for acting quickly in response: establishing the Latrobe Valley Authority and committing funding of more than a quarter of a billion dollars to support workers and their families and attract new jobs, including setting up a special economic zone.

This Conference declares its complete support for the Hazelwood workers and the local community in their struggle for a Just Transition.

It is disappointing that the Federal Government has not made comparable commitments to this community. Conference condemns the Turnbull Government for refusing to even meet with workers and unions.

Conference notes that the sudden and complete closure by Engie is at odds with what workers had been told by the company for many years, and calls on the company to extend the timeframe to permit the redeployment of the workforce.

Conference also notes that the most recent National Conference adopted a policy of Just Transition, which included a commitment to pooled redundancies across a sector or region.

As Federal Labor’s plan cannot be enacted in time for the Hazelwood workforce, Conference calls on the Andrews Government to step in and facilitate a pooled redundancy scheme for the Hazelwood workforce.

The Latrobe Valley has a proud history, but has suffered in recent decades. Minimal intervention by governments has failed to redress a deep malaise. With the closure of Hazelwood, the Latrobe Valley is once again facing economic upheaval and all of the social consequences that accompany it. Such a scenario is undeserving of a community which for close to one hundred years has powered Victoria, allowing our state to grow and prosper.

It is important that strategies for the Latrobe Valley are sustained until significant change is realised. Focussing the efforts of government on residents of Latrobe City will target the people who will most feel the economic and social costs of this transition. It may take a decade or more of sustained effort, but Victorian Labor believes the Latrobe Valley can once again be the prosperous and well community that it has been in years gone by.

MOTION:

State Conference recognises the impact of the closure of Hazelwood power station and mine on the Latrobe Valley and calls on the Victorian Labor Government to:

  1. Take a long-term approach to supporting those most-affected residents of the Latrobe Valley;
  2. Arrest the decline and intergenerational disadvantage in the Valley, measuring achievement against social and economic targets indicative of a prosperous and socially-well community;
  3. Help meet the future employment needs of Hazelwood workers by working with unions and employers to identify like for like job opportunities;
  4. Identify funding for, and facilitate, a pooled redundancy scheme for the Hazelwood workforce which:
    1. a.offers voluntary redundancies (paid at the rate of four weeks’ pay for each year of service) at all remaining power stations and mines until the surplus labour at Hazelwood is fully redeployed;
    2. sees operators employing only from the pool of Hazelwood employees until that pool is exhausted; and
    3. is managed by a tripartite authority that includes a mechanism to resolve disputes;
  5. Investigate opportunities to grow the public sector workforce in the Latrobe Valley;
  6. Invest in community infrastructure and take a proactive approach to attracting new employers and industries to the region; and
  7. secure a comparable commitment from the Turnbull Government.

MOVED:                 Onno Van den Eynde (Gippsland FEA)

SECONDED:          Michael O'Connor (CFMEU)

CARRIED