The Turnbull Government today announced the interim Employment Facilitator for Gippsland has commenced work to help support those affected by the closure of the Hazelwood Power Station and mine in the Latrobe Valley in March 2017.
Mr Grant Rathjen, who started work this week, has more than 40 years’ experience in federal, state and local government education, training and employment roles in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland. He has been appointed for an initial period of four months.
Minister for Employment, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, and Member for Gippsland, the Hon Darren Chester MP, said the interim Employment Facilitator for Gippsland will be critical in helping those affected by the upcoming closure connect with a wide range of services.
"The people of the Latrobe Valley are understandably concerned about what will happen to their community when Hazelwood closes," Minister Cash said.
"One of the important elements of the government’s $43 million Hazelwood Structural Adjustment Program is that services will be made available to eligible partners of retrenched workers, contractors and business people in the Hazelwood supply chain."
Mr Rathjen brings a wealth of experience to the role of Employment Facilitator for Gippsland. He has well-established government and industry networks within the Gippsland region and an excellent understanding of local labour market issues. Between 2012 and 2014 he was Gippsland Regional Education, Skills and Jobs Coordinator for the Department of Employment.
As part of his role, Mr Rathjen will work with local jobactive providers, employers and training services to ensure workers have the skills they need to re-enter the workforce and provide them with opportunities for retraining and further education.
Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester MP, said he hoped local workers would take advantage of Mr Rathjen’s local knowledge and experience.
"Mr Rathjen will be a valuable, accessible on-the ground resource - I encourage all retrenched workers to make contact with him to discuss their employment needs," Minister Chester said.
"The Government’s immediate priority is to ensure affected workers receive fast, comprehensive support to get back into the workforce as quickly as possible."
Employers with job opportunities are also encouraged to make contact with Mr Rathjen.
Funding for the position of an interim Employment Facilitator for Gippsland region has been made available under the Government’s Hazelwood Structural Adjustment Program.
For more information about the Hazelwood Structural Adjustment Program, visit https://www.employment.gov.au/help-workers-who-have-recently-lost-their-job or call the Employment Services Information Line on 13 62 68.
To contact Grant Rathjen email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0434 307 487. Mr Rathjen will be co-located with the Latrobe Valley Authority at 131 Princes Drive, Morwell, Victoria.