Shortly after the announcement of an Economic Growth Zone in the Latrobe Valley, the Victorian Government has today announced progress on the development of a high-tech precinct in the area. Revealed in the state budget earlier this year, the government announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that has been signed to commence work on the precinct right away.

The Latrobe Valley will get its own Hi-Tech Precinct to create jobs and open up the best work and education opportunities for local students, thanks to a $17 million investment from the Andrews Labor Government. The construction is expected to create at least 80 new jobs, with hundreds of ongoing full-time jobs to follow.

Based at the Federation Training site, it will bring together the new Morwell Tech School with Federation University, Federation Training, private tenants, and leading global tech firm Fujitsu as the likely anchor tenant.

The purpose-built precinct will promote innovation, productivity and job creation with a focus on growing sectors in Gippsland such as new energy, health, food and fiber and professional services.

Fujitsu will look to establish a service center operation and will help drive the ‘open innovation laboratory,’ where Gippsland’s research, business and education communities can access Fujitsu’s computing and data analytics capabilities – the first time this ground breaking approach has been implemented in Australia.

MoU has been developed to guide collaboration between Fujitsu, the Victorian Government, Federation Training and Federation University. The MoU provides a framework for the development of the precinct, the establishment of Fujitsu jobs and an Open Innovation Concept to be integrated into the Precinct and the Morwell Tech School. Glen Grant, vice president of Fujitsu, said,

We’re excited to be involved in the development of a business case for the Hi-Tech Precinct with a view to providing job opportunities in the Latrobe Valley, benefitting businesses and the community in the region.

The company will look to establish a service center operation and drive the ‘open innovation laboratory’ where the area’s research, business, and education communities can access Fujitsu’s computing and data analytics. Victorian Minister for Training and Skills, Gayle Tierney, said,

We’re working to make sure students in the Latrobe Valley have access to training at this precinct that aligns with the needs of local industry now and in the future.

The Government has created a $10 million ‘economic facilitation fund’ to help grow new businesses, while $22 million will also look to help support workers and businesses affected by the closure of the Hazelwood plant.

Initiatives within this package include the establishment of a Worker Transition Centre in partnership with the Gippsland Trades and Labor Council in Morwell to provide one on one support, as well as education, counseling, financial advice, and subsidized job seeker training for workers in transition.

Also, part of the package will be tailored support for businesses to help them identify new opportunities and develop a transition plan, and an expansion of the Back to Work program to businesses that employ workers in the Latrobe Valley.

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