The Australian Taxation Office has granted favourable tax rates to a landmark worker transfer scheme, clearing the way for retrenched Hazelwood workers to secure new power industry jobs in the Latrobe Valley.
The $20 million scheme, negotiated by the Victorian Government, helps to cover the cost of early retirement packages for workers at other Latrobe Valley power stations, creating vacancies for former Hazelwood workers.
The decision means workers who decide to take an early retirement package will be taxed at a lower rate, providing an extra incentive for those who wish to leave.
“This is a big step towards securing sustainable jobs for highly skilled Hazelwood workers so they can continue to contribute to our energy industry and local economy,” Latrobe Valley Authority (LVA) Chief Executive Officer Karen Cain said.
“We also are starting to see workers finding new jobs at places like Latrobe Regional Hospital and Fulham prison or working in skilled labouring for construction companies, the transport industry and other local businesses.”
The worker transfer scheme will help around 150 highly skilled Hazelwood workers to remain in the industry by allowing them to transfer to other power generators – in the first instance Loy Yang A, operated by AGL.
The government has also secured an agreement with ENGIE to allow former Hazelwood workers to move to Loy Yang B, which ENGIE operates.
Negotiations continue with Energy Australia, the operator of Yallourn Power Station.
The worker transfer scheme is part of the Victorian Government’s $266 million package for the Latrobe Valley, which includes the $50 million Economic Growth Zone to support business growth, and the establishment of the LVA.
The LVA’s worker transition service also provides tailored support to workers and families to give them the skills, training, information and personal support they need to make a fresh start.