Sunday, June 23, 2024

Lithgow study tour looks to Latrobe economic transition

Lithgow City Council councillors and staff joined with the Western Sydney University for a recent two-day study tour of economic transition in the Latrobe Valley in Gippsland, Victoria.

The Latrobe Valley experienced sudden economic disruption after the decision to close the Hazelwood Power Station was made in March 2017. With only a five-month window allowed for the closure, and with two additional power stations also identified to close from 2028 the community faced a difficult economic future.

In response to the economic disruption, the Latrobe Valley Authority (LVA) was established by the Victorian Government to guide the community into the next era of economic development and sustainable economic transition.

“The purpose of the study tour was to learn from the seven years of transitions initiatives that have been rolled out in the Latrobe Valley,” Lithgow City Council said in a statement.

The Lithgow delegation met with six of the principal organisations involved in community and economic transitions management. This included the Gippsland Tech School, Gippsland Trades Centre, Gippsland Trades and Labour Council, The Victorian Mining and Energy Union, Latrobe City Council, the Latrobe Valley Authority and Energy Australia.

Lithgow Mayor, Maree Statham says key takeaways from the study tour included the importance of quality face-to-face industry trades training to develop the current and emerging workforce for future industries. The development of employment programs that accommodate and recognise the skills of the existing mining workforce was also encouraged, she said.

The delegation also observed how collaboration between governments, the private sector and the community can foster successful transition.

“As in the Latrobe Valley, Lithgow will need governments, industry, workforce unions and the knowledge sector working with the Council if we are to succeed with our own transition,” said Mayor Statham.

“This study tour gave the delegation deep insight to what has and has not worked at Latrobe. This is incredibly informative as Lithgow City Council is now implementing the Lithgow Emerging Economies Plan (LEEP).

“The importance of seeing how other regional areas respond to the large economic shifts that the closure of coalfired power stations and mining bring about cannot be overstated. The approach taken in the Latrobe Valley is a leading example of change management in Australia, and all the delegates came away so much more informed.”

A full report from the study visit can be reviewed at www.council.lithgow.com.

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