By Jarrod Whittaker
The Latrobe Valley is expected to benefit from the creation of 257 new jobs following the allocation of state government transition grants to local businesses.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the $2.7 million worth of grants from the Latrobe Valley Economic Facilitation Fund for five local businesses during a tour of Latrobe Valley Bus Lines' Traralgon depot on Friday.
During the visit he announced the government $25 million GovHub will be built on the former Anglicare site at 65 Church Street, Morwell.
Victoria Valley Meat Exports, Mecrus, Riveria Farms, Trafalgar Medical Centre and Gibson Groundspread have been awarded grants which are expected to generate $36.3 million in local investment.
Victoria Valley Meat Exports, based in Trafalgar, will use the grant to invest in upgraded facilities to support growth in key export markets in the United States and south-east Asia which will support the creation of 89 jobs.
Mr Andrews said the grants and the 257 jobs were "about more jobs coming to the Latrobe Valley, more opportunities for young people in the community, more opportunities for this proud community to be even stronger for the future".
"If you think about that, that's 257 livelihoods that are absolutely secured for the future, jobs in agriculture, manufacturing," he said.
"That ongoing, consistent support and the work the Latrobe Valley Authority and the $266 million [Hazelwood transition] package that we provided, it's really paying dividends."
Friday's announcement came just a day after the government announced it was extending the Growing Regional Opportunities for Work initiative to the Latrobe Valley.
The $750,000 GROW initiative aims to create new jobs by encouraging local businesses to use local products and services.
The initiative was established in Geelong in 2013 and now has 80 businesses and organisations signed up.
It has generated local spending worth $20.21 million.
Nineteen participants have signed up to the Latrobe Valley version of the scheme, with more expected to follow.
Mr Andrews said the Latrobe Valley the government's $266 million transition package, unveiled in November 2016 when ENGIE announced its plans to close Hazelwood, was "really paying dividends".
"There are always challenges, we know that," he said.
"We've seen so much good news, positive news in recent times whether it's upgrading sporting facilities, bringing new industries, new jobs, new businesses and investment to the Valley, investing in schools and the other important community infrastructure that is so important.
"There is, I think, a real sense of momentum and optimism a positivity about things that wasn't here a couple of years ago."
More in Monday’s Express.