By Michelle Slater
A planned energy from waste project at the Maryvale mill has been given a leg up with a $48.2 million federal government funding commitment.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester was on site at the Opal Australian Paper mill last week to announce funding for the $600 million project slated to start construction by the end of this year.
Mr Chester stressed that the funding had already been committed and was not contingent upon the outcome of the May 21 federal election.
“This is great news for the Latrobe Valley. Our region has an incredible history as a powerhouse, and of energy and manufacturing in this state,” Mr Chester said.
“Part of this great future of what we are talking about today, is the federal government working in partnership with the private sector to secure jobs here at Maryvale and also jobs for the future.”
The facility will process 325,000 tonnes of municipal landfill into energy to power the paper mill, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 270,000 tonnes a year.
Opal is hoping for the plant to start operating in late 2025, while providing 500 construction jobs and 450 operational jobs.
The project has already secured half of the feedstock needed to power the plant through waste manager Veolia, with the facility to be built in a staged approach.
Opal corporate strategic project general manager David Jettner said they were in the process of securing the remaining feedstock by applying for council tenders in metro and regional Victoria.
Mr Jettner said the federal government support was “crucial” to help resolve these final hurdles, which also included securing finance, with the backing of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
“This $48.2 million grant demonstrates the federal government’s confidence in our facility and transformational manufacturing infrastructure projects,” Mr Jettner said.
Latrobe City Council Mayor Kellie O’Callaghan welcomed the investment which she said would boost the region’s economy and secure the financial futures of local residents.
“These types of commitments create lasting positive change for our community,” Cr O’Callaghan said.
“Latrobe City Council has a commitment to driving economic transformation for the long-term. This announcement is welcome news to complement our work.”news to complement our work.”