Premier Daniel Andrews has this week refused to answer questions regarding the Latrobe Valley Authority.
Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood had asked three Questions on Notice relating to the employment of staff at the Latrobe Valley Authority, how they were paid, and how much of the $266 million allocated had been spent to date.
In an extraordinary response, Daniel Andrews not only failed to answer the three individual questions asked, he also used the same ambiguous answer for each Question on Notice submitted.
‘The $266 million fund allocated to the Latrobe Valley should be used specifically for the purposes of creating new jobs and employment opportunities for workers and families who have been impacted by the closure of Hazelwood or Carter Holt Harvey, not to help fund the staff working at the Latrobe Valley Authority,’ said Mr Blackwood.
‘Not once in his answer to these Questions on Notice is the Premier relevant to the very specific questions asked.
‘If Daniel Andrews did not know the answers to these questions he should have done the research to find out instead of providing irrelevant answers that won’t address the concerns of the local community.
Mr Blackwood said a number of the roles at the Latrobe Valley Authority were significant in their remuneration and the community had a right to know if the $266 million was being used to pay for the positions.
‘These roles have been openly advertised in local, metropolitan and online spaces as well as promoted by local Labor Members of Parliament in the region encouraging applications and their advertised remuneration has ranged from $100,000 to more than $300,000.
‘This Authority was established to help create new ongoing long term employment for local residents impacted by these job losses, and some of these position descriptions, such as a videographer and senior program officer responsible for branding and promotion, are outlandish to say the least.
‘We need this fund to be used as intended, not to be spent on advertising the Andrews Labor Government or used to create feel good media opportunities for local Labor MP’s.
‘Daniel Andrews was not even able to say how much of the $266 million has been spent to date.
‘I will be referring these answers back to the Speaker of the Victorian Parliament for review.
‘Gippsland deserves better from Daniel Andrews and his clear failure to answer these questions is just another confirmation that he does not view our region as a priority,’ Mr Blackwood said.
Questions on Notice are;