MEDIA RELEASE: Purcell secures Portland energy funding


PortlandThe State Government will commit to finding a solution for Alcoa’s energy needs, with the announcement of $500,000 in today’s state budget to create an energy and industry plan for Portland.

Member for Western Victoria James Purcell sought the funding following the 11th hour agreement to save Alcoa earlier this year.

The agreement provided assistance for restoring the smelter to capacity after a power cut in late 2016 froze one of the pot lines and left the smelter running at quarter capacity.

It's vital that the region secures a permanent and reliable base load power supply for its heavy industry operators to ensure Alcoa remains a viable business past the four year window achieved in this agreement, said Mr Purcell.

“The way I see it, we have four years to create a plan which will keep Alcoa operating in the future and save the jobs of hundreds of workers,” Mr Purcell said.

“It’s about more than the smelter though – it’s about the town itself. If Alcoa closes Portland will become a ghost town.”

Mr Purcell said the $500,000 package would be used to look at alternative energy options for the smelter beyond the immediate four years.

“We have a small committee that is looking at energy options for Portland and the $500,000 will be used to further these ideas and create a sustainable plan that we can implement as soon as possible.

“The aim of this funding is to secure the future of Alcoa’s Portland smelter and the future of Portland itself.”

FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES please contact Tanya Waterson – 0437 658 007