Purcell asks for regional centre action plans

Regional centres need to develop action plans to attract new industries.

Western Victoria MP James Purcell is asking for a program of regional action plans to attract new industry and employment to centres that are reliant on a single industry.

This week in Parliament he invited the Minister for Regional Development to visit Portland, a town that is facing the potential closure of the Alcoa Aluminum Smelter.

"Many of our regional townships are built around, and reliant upon, a single industry. These industries are vital to the local community - providing employment, community sponsorship and incomes for services and trades businesses in the area," says Mr Purcell.

"In south west Victoria we have a number of examples."

In Portland Alcoa employs around 650 people and its influence extends deep in the town with contracted services and suppliers.

"The future of this town and these jobs depends on Alcoa. I would like to see some effort go into developing plans for these townships that looks into how we can encourage new industry and growth, so that they can become multi-faceted communities, less reliant on a single major employer.

"This is especially important for Portland which faces the real possibility that Alcoa will pull out of the region in coming years."