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Meet our new Victorian District President

March 27, 2024

Our new Victorian District President Andy Smith says bringing new industry to the Latrobe Valley will be his top priority after being elected to the role in February, following Trevor Williams’ retirement last year.

Andy, who was previously a District Organiser, says he is passionate about ensuring the future of members in around the Latrobe Valley. He says that a just transition and the creation of new local jobs will be a key focus and he looks forward to being on the ground with members.

“We’re at the forefront of the energy transition here in Victoria, and members want to know what’s going to happen to them and our industry, particularly at our power stations in a few years’ time.

“As much as we take pride in our union standing up for and winning strong redundancy provisions, we need to also be taking coordinated action to bring in new industries to the Latrobe Valley.

“We need new jobs that can accommodate coal mining and coal fired power station workers who come from heavy industry, and we need to ensure that there are enough jobs to accommodate workers who are going to be on the front lines when scheduled power station closures happen.”

Andy says that he is keen to step up to the plate on these challenges and that it will be essential to bring workers along for the journey.

“Our members in Victoria are very resilient and remain hopeful for the future.

“I want to make sure that we’re taking a pragmatic approach to these challenges, and I believe the best way to do that is to be united through the union as we navigate the next few years.”

Andy began his career in the union movement as a Delegate and Union Health and Safety Representative at Blue Scope Steel at Western Point in Victoria for a few years. After that he worked for the ACTU and moved into a role as Organiser with the Western Mineworkers Alliance, organising iron ore workers in the Pilbara. Andy joined the MEU Victorian District as an Organiser in 2021.

“I am really passionate about the work I do, and I wholeheartedly believe that unionism is the best way for working class people to lift their wages and conditions and improve their lot.

“I’m looking forward to taking a really grassroots approach to the role as I enjoy being out in the workplace with members, listening to what matters to them and understanding their needs.

“Also, for the record, I make a lot of dad jokes, so that’s something members will have to expect of me when I come around!

“I think it’s important to break the ice sometimes and also to lighten up things because our work can be very heavy and the challenges that we face can be extremely tough.” Andy lives in the Latrobe Valley. In his spare time, he enjoys painting and all things outdoors, including fishing and four-wheel driving.

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