ABC News Online, Fri Aug 28, 2009
The Victorian Climate Change Minister, Gavin Jennings, is addressing the latest in a series of regional forums on global warming at Kernot Hall in the Latrobe Valley today.
The valley's electricity and coal industries will be among the hardest hit by the effects of climate change and an emissions trading scheme.
Mr Jennings says as well as the downside effects, climate change will present opportunities for Gippsland.
He says the Government is exploring the possibilities of solar, wind, geothermal, tidal and other forms of renewable energy.
"Within all of that diversity of our energy sources, there are a lot of job opportunities, so a lot of people immediately jump to say that when change happens it adversely impacts on job opportunities," he said.
"But the Victorian Government wants to drive an agenda where there are a lot of jobs coming in this transformation."
Meanwhile, a prominent climate change campaigner says developing the Latrobe Valley's manufacturing sector will help the transition to an emissions trading scheme.
Matt Wright represents the climate change think tank Beyond Zero Emissions and was in Gippsland yesterday.
Mr Wright says state and federal governments are relying too heavily on the coal industry when looking at future power options.
He says he is confident renewables can provide enough power, while preserving and creating jobs in the valley.
"People in the Latrobe Valley want a future for their community and there's a perfect opportunity now with the renewable energy revolution ... to provide the manufacturing and components," he said.
"We've got a rail infrastructure here, so we can ship anything we manufacture out of the Valley, we've got the capacity to manufacture, there's the warehousing space and we can tool up and we can do that, but the point is we need to get it up and running now."