News the Morrison Liberal Government will support Portland Aluminium is fantastic news for the south-west, but now the State Government needs to come to the party, Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says.
Ms Britnell said the Federal Government’s commitment would assist the smelter moving forward, but she said it didn’t let the State Government off the hook.
“Portland Aluminium is vital for the Western half of the state – a recent report by the Australia Institute showed the closure of the smelter would result in the loss of 3600 direct and indirect jobs and $50 million would be wiped of state government revenues annually,” she said.
“The Federal Liberal Government has recognised how important the smelter is and are providing the support needed – now the state Labor Government needs to do the same.
“The Andrews Government has a major role to play here – it’s because of this government’s policies, Victorians pay the highest energy rates in the country, that’s not good for jobs and it’s not good for the smelter.”
Ms Britnell said renewable energy would play an important role in providing energy for the smelter, but current renewable technology simply cannot provide that energy security now.
“Last year 19 per cent of the smelter’s energy came from renewable sources, up from 1 per cent in 2015.
“The smelters demand is almost 3 times the capacity of the Hornsdale Power Reserve Project – the largest battery on the east coast grid.
“I’ve got no doubt that renewable technology will improve and be able to play a bigger role in supply the smelter – but it’s not going to happen in the next six months – the smelter needs support now so it can continue that transition.”
Ms Britnell said once again it was a Liberal Government is supporting the south-west while the Andrews Labor Government have sat back.
“The Federal Liberal Government has a strong track record of funding important south-west projects – be it the Warrnambool rail line upgrade and road upgrades like the Princes Highway West.
“The Andrews Government has to be dragged kicking and screaming to support these vital projects.”