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Hazelwood closure presents opportunity

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Melissa Meehan

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says news of the closure of Hazelwood is very sad, but it presents numerous opportunities for the Latrobe Valley region.

The Hazelwood coal-fired mine will completely close down on March 31, putting more than 750 staff out of work and placing pressure on the already struggling community.

Mr Andrews said while the closure was very sad news, it gave the opportunity for the region to have an even better future.

"We had hoped for a different outcome but we were planning for exactly the announcement that Engie has made," Mr Andrews told reporters in Morwell.

"Let's use this very sad news today as an opportunity for an even better future, better jobs, more young people staying in the community."

Mr Andrews said the closure was a decision made "a long way from here".

"They are a global company and they have made a decision to get out of coal and that is exactly what they are doing," he said.

The $22 million support package will offer funding for TAFE training, and financial and emotional counselling.

Mr Andrews also announced $20 million to establish an authority, based in Morwell, that will work to attract new businesses and opportunities for the region.

"I want to make it very clear to every single member of the Latrobe Valley community, every business, every family, every individual, we will be there to stand with you and work with you to get through these challenges and to do the best we can to make sure that the Latrobe Valley is stronger than it has ever been," he said.

More announcements around regional development in the Latrobe Valley area would be made in the near future, he said.

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