Purcell seeks answers for Portland uncertainty

Western District MP James Purcell has called on the Treasurer to provide reassurance and stability for the people of Portland following the announcement that the Alcoa power subsidy will not continue.

Mr Purcell said the recent announcement that the subsidy had "run its course" could prove devastating for the town.

"If Alcoa goes then Portland will lose 700 direct jobs and many more in supporting industries and local businesses," he said.

"The people of Portland are very concerned about the future of their town. Alcoa has assured locals it is doing all it can to ensure the Portland plant remains viable, but it is facing a massive increase in costs next year.

"The reality is that Alcoa is not an Australian business. If other locations are able to provide more supporting infrastructure they will take their business elsewhere."

Mr Purcell has raised the issue of support for the Portland region many times in Parliament, including requests to fund a Renewable Energy Hub based in the town.

"It's time now for us to think seriously about how this should be structured. There is already a strong community group that want to bring Renewable Energy operators into the area, good supporting industry for these industries, but they need Government support and direction to make it a reality."

Mr Purcell said is was satisfying to have the Victorian Greens on board after their recent call for the Government to establish a transition taskforce to prepare for the possible closure of the Portland smelter.

"I have asked the Treasurer for a concrete plan to support Portland industry, including Alcoa and new industries for the area," he said.

ENDS