Victoria Deputy Premier Peter Ryan
Victoria Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan
Report Guides Latrobe Valley’s Industry And Employment Roadmap
Victor P Taffa
A newly-released independent report has revealed the Gillard Labor Government has seriously underestimated the carbon tax’s impact on the Latrobe Valley.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Victoria University report, released 100 days out from the Gillard Labor Government’s carbon tax coming into effect, and highlighted the level of volatility facing Latrobe Valley from 1 July this year.
“This report is proof more Commonwealth Government assistance is required to back up the Victorian Coalition Government’s already significant investment to support industry and employment in the Latrobe Valley.” Mr. Ryan said.
“The Victorian University Centre for Strategic Economic Studies report The Regional Effects of Pricing Carbon Emissions: An Adjustment Strategy for the Latrobe Valley examined the social and economic impacts of a carbon price in the Latrobe Valley and the wider Gippsland region.”
The report describes the assistance set aside by the Commonwealth to assist regions across Australia affected by its carbon pricing policies as ‘modest’. The report also notes the coal-fired electricity sector remains a ‘cornerstone’ of the Latrobe Valley economy.
‘About 15% of total employment is directly attributable to the coal-fired electricity industry … however the importance of the sector to the local economy is greater since the electricity and related sectors account for almost 26 % of the valley’s wage income.’
Mr. Ryan said one of the Victoria University report’s main conclusions was the magnitude of the adjustment required in the Latrobe Valley as a result of the carbon tax was likely to be larger and more complicated than currently anticipated by the Commonwealth.
“The Victorian Coalition Government recognises the Latrobe Valley is a major contributor to Victoria’s economy.” Mr. Ryan said.
“This newly-released report is being factored into the development of the Coalition Government’s Latrobe Valley Industry and Employment Roadmap which will drive new industry and investment and secure long-term employment for the Latrobe Valley.”
Mr. Ryan said there was an agreement between the Commonwealth and the state that both governments would work together to assist Latrobe Valley communities minimise the inevitable adverse impacts from the introduction of a price on carbon.
“The Coalition Government has taken early action to fund the Roadmap Project and to implement programs to improve skills training while the Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund will support diversification of the Latrobe valley economy.” Mr. Ryan said.
“To date the Commonwealth has made no specific financial commitment to the Latrobe Valley but I am hopeful this situation will change in coming months.” Mr. Ryan said.
The Victorian University Centre for Strategic Economic Studies report is available at www.rdv.vic.gov.au