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Govt vows to stand by Hazelwood workers

AAP logoAAP 23/09/2016 By Julian Drape and Jacqueline Le

The Victorian government insists no decision has been made to close the Hazelwood power station but it's preparing for the plant to shut down amid speculation it could happen sooner rather than later.

French multinational energy company Engie is holding a board meeting in October to finalise its plan to close the power plant, which could happen by April, Fairfax reported on Saturday.

However, Engie has told state Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio it hasn't yet made any decision regarding the Latrobe Valley power station and mine.

"They assured me that no decision has been made," she told reporters on Saturday.

"Speculation beyond that is not helpful to anybody."

A company spokesman told AAP that "no decision has been made".

Nevertheless, acting Premier Jacinta Allan has promised worried workers the government will have their back if the power station does shut down.

"Should there be a decision in the future, that the operators decide to cease operating at Hazelwood, the government will work with the community every step of the way," Ms Allan said, noting a Latrobe Valley economic development team was being established "to deliver new jobs".

Up to 1000 jobs could be lost if the Hazelwood plant closes.

Engie in May told a French senate committee it was considering closing or selling the power station and mine.

Environment Victoria wants the company to announce a plan to look after workers and fund a transition for the Latrobe Valley.

The green group says rehabilitating the mine site could create hundreds of jobs.

"Phasing out Hazelwood will put an end to Australia's oldest and most polluting power station and will mark the beginning of Victoria's transition to the clean energy sources of the future," Environment Victoria chief executive Mark Wakeham said in a statement.

The Victorian government this year increased the rehabilitation bond for Hazelwood mine from less than $15 million to $36.7 million and it's set to double again by January.

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