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The human story behind Hazelwood

The human story behind Hazelwood

Mark Richards. Photograph by Jorge de Araujo

‘Hazelwood highlights the importance of sustainability or else,’ says Mark Richards.

Until recently Mr Richards worked at Hazelwood power station as a unit controller before he was made redundant via text message. He had worked there for 28 years.

‘What happened to me in the La Trobe Valley is not an act of god, is not the result of simple market forces or unforeseen event. It’s the result of responses to climate change by government, businesses, investors.’

With transition to renewables, Mr Richard’s presentation at was a reminder that protecting workers is critical, along with joining a union.

‘Communities shouldn’t be collateral damage in shift towards renewables’, he stated, citing Germany starting its move towards renewables in 1969 without job losses.

With a 22 per cent unemployment rate which will grow with the Hazelwood closure, Morwell is at figures close to the 25 per cent unemployment during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

He encouraged nurses to think about how their profession may change in the future.

‘Change is inevitable. Ignoring it will mean one thing: others will shut your future.’

‘For those who believe nursing will remain unchanged, maybe it’s time to consider how technology, automation, financial, medical and legal responsibilities will change and how they affect the way you do your job today.’

He advised nurses and midwives to be active in their union and work together to ensure they were prepared for the future.