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Golden handshake for Hazelwood workers

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Melissa Meehan

Hazelwood workers will walk away with an average $330,000 when the Victorian power plant closes in 2017.

French co-owner Engie on Thursday announced it was "no longer economic to operate" the mine and power station, and all eight generating units would be closed by March 31 next year.

That means 450 direct employees and 300 contractors will be out of work.

Engie Australia chief executive Alex Keisser says the company has set aside $150 million to pay their entitlements - an average of $330,00 each.

That includes four weeks for every year spent at the company - capped at two years - unused annual leave and $4000 for training and job searching.

"They call it a redundancy package - I call that a respectful package," Mr Keisser told reporters in Morwell.

The chief executive said low electricity prices in Australia made it impossible to gradually shut down the mine and power station.

And he confirmed Engie was looking to sell another of its Latrobe Valley assets - Loy Yang B. But that power station won't be closed if there are no buyers.

"It is certainly the most economical asset that we have in terms of coal generation in Australia," Mr Keisser told reporters.

"If we can't find a buyer we have a beautiful asset and we will continue to operate it."

Engie will work with the CFMEU to roll out early retirement packages for older workers at Loy Yang to make room for some of those hit by the Hazelwood closure.

CFMEU Mining and Energy state president Trevor Williams says offering redundancies to older workers across the industry could allow younger people to keep their jobs.

"Other power generators are now privately owned companies (but) it would just take a bit of will across the industry as well as from the state and federal governments," Mr Williams told AAP.

Mr Keisser made clear there'd be no forced redundancies for the 150 staff at Loy Yang B.

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