“Our children will have jobs that don’t exist yet.”
First spoken by Alvin Toffler in 1970 this quote still applies today. It certainly speaks to community group Voices of the Valley who are using it as the bold tagline for their proposed Energy Transition Centre.
The Energy Transition Centre is the heart of Voices of the Valley’s (VOTV) plans to transform the Latrobe Valley by creating jobs and hope for the community. For too long there has been a deficit of both. The privatization of the power industry in the 90’s and the Hazelwood mine fire in 2014 are two prominent examples of the cards being stacked against the region.
But VOTV is seeking to change that.
Faced with a future where coal mines will not provide employment or energy in the Latrobe Valley, VOTV have an ambitious vision. They have developed a future industry initiative that combines existing infrastructure with new technologies and incorporates a range of businesses models, including cooperatives. Started by the community, it will work together with government, business and educational facilities to provide a pathway for transition to future industries.
An important first step is setting up a Transition Centre where local industry can be incubated and where the Latrobe Valley community can access any training they need to be part of future industries.
We know that transition is as much about the community as it is about technology. VOTV’s proposal ensures that the community benefits from the growing renewable energy industry and the creation of worker owned co-ops.
Assistance from the state and federal government would also be welcomed; political leaders can make practical and proactive transition plans for communities near coal mines a priority at the upcoming Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.
An upcoming opportunity for the Andrews government to create jobs in the region will be the Victorian Renewable Energy Auctions, which could include a targeted auction for the Latrobe Valley to drive investment in renewable energy or energy storage. Measures like this would support Voices of the Valley’s work to create jobs and hope for the Valley’s future.
- Find out more about Voices of the Valley’s plans for a Transition Centre and support their work by volunteering or making a donation at their website > http://www.votv.org.au.