LV jobs and tax-payers money go begging
The Andrews Labor Government is failing on its commitment to create jobs in the Latrobe Valley with still no progress on the promised 500 jobs at an electric vehicle manufacturing plant.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced on the eve of the 2018 election that SEA Electric would establish an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in the Latrobe Valley and that it would be up and going by the end of 2019.
Under questioning by The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien in the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearings this week, Regional Development Minister, Mary-Anne Thomas, could provide no update on whether the project would occur or not.
“We are nearly three years down the track since the announcement occurred and there is no site, no jobs and no prospect of this project coming to fruition,” Mr O’Brien said.
“What is also alarming is that the Government has acknowledged that it made a payment to SEA Electric prior to May 2019 but won’t say how much it was or whether it has asked for that money to be repaid.
“This is a massive broken promise to the Latrobe Valley and will be extremely disappointing for any of those people looking for work or hoping new industry will come to the Valley.”
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath said it was also clear the Government had misled the people of the Valley.
“Whatever the reason for this project not going ahead, it’s a great disappointment to all of us who hoped to see the new jobs created.
“Ultimately, it’s up to the Government to explain why its promise has been broken and it should come clean with the community.
“The question the Government needs to answer is - at what point will it accept that this project is not going ahead?
“Taxpayers’ money has been used and there is a strong argument that the Government should be transparent and if the project is not going ahead it should be asking for the funding to be returned.”
Through Mr O’Brien’s questioning it was also revealed that funding for the Latrobe Valley Authority will expire at the end of June next year, with no further assistance on the horizon.
“In the context of the pending closure of Yallourn it is clear the Andrews Labor Government has turned its back on Gippsland and the Valley and it needs to explain why it is not providing further support for jobs and economic development in the region,” Mr O’Brien said.