Identification of opportunities to support structural adjustment in the Latrobe Valley region

Economic development Australia Victoria

This report presents the key findings of a project on the opportunities for investment and job growth in the Latrobe Valley.

Executive summary

1. The project aims to analyse the current economic and labour situation, as well as to consider the future economic and labour possibilities for the Latrobe Valley region. It identifies the opportunities and barriers to economic revitalisation, and proposes the key considerations and priorities for the future of the region and Gippsland as a whole.

2. The Latrobe Valley region comprises three local government areas (LGAs): Baw Baw, Latrobe City and Wellington. The area of Gippsland also includes the LGAs of East Gippsland, South Gippsland and Bass Coast.

3. The prosperity and future of the Latrobe Valley region (and Gippsland) depends largely on its natural resources. Thus, an understanding of both the resources (strengths and limitations of each resource) and their value- adding potential is vital.

4. The project adopts a resource and organisational approach to investigate the economic prospects of the Latrobe Valley region by considering the following resource sectors:

a. coal (and electricity)

b. oil and gas

c. forestry (paper and timber)

d. agriculture (agrifood/agribusiness).

Each of these sectors is strategically important to the region’s economic output.

5. Each sector has been shaped by dominant organisational networks and companies. These relationships change over time and operate in many cases as ‘flexible organisational networks’ – lead firms and layered suppliers, contractors and associated organisations providing goods, services and maintenance.

6. These four sectors are interconnected in a number of ways. Each competes for labour, land and water resources and relies on transportation infrastructure as well as markets located outside the region.

7. Trends in the four resourced-based sectors also affect the broader, multi- sector industries of construction and manufacturing. Having the capacity to deliver construction underpins how and/or if future investment into the four resource-based sectors takes place.

Authored by Professor Peter Fairbrother, Dr Darryn Snell, Professor George Cairns, Dr Larissa Bamberry, Dr Meagan Tyler, Ms Madeleine Pape, Mr Claude Rioux, Mr Sam Carroll-Bell and Ms Silvia Suraci.

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