Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a rescue package to staff members affected by technical fault reported from Portland Alcoa aluminium smelter. The scheme worth $240 million will be designed to safeguard the jobs of the affected individuals. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews seconded Turnbull’s decision and joined the announcement.
In December, the Alcoa aluminium smelter reported a transmission fault that cut power to its potlines. Since then, only a third of the smelter has been operational. Many staff members were compelled to take leave over the Christmas time.
The announcement from the state and federal government was made on Friday morning. The scheme involved energy company AGL providing a new four-year electricity contract to the smelter until 2021. This will help the smelter remain open for four more years to come. The rescue package is likely to cost the state government around $210 million for four years.
Turnbull said that the Aussie government has been planning to help Alcoa aluminium smelter workers to stand on their feet once again. “We’ve seen all those pots that were frozen and how they’ll be cleaned out, starting today,” the ABC quoted Turnbull as saying. “And that is enabled by a $30-million grant that the Federal Government is making to Alcoa to enable you to get those lines back into production, to get this plant operating at the full potential, the full capacity that will be maintained by the company in order to secure and retain the grant that is being made … right through till 2021.”
AGL Statement On Keeping Alcoa Aluminium Smelter Open Until 2021
AGL Energy has confirmed reaching an agreement with Alcoa aluminium smelter regarding keeping it open until 2021. The deal will be effective from August as soon as the current electric supply agreement ends. According to reports, this time the Portland plan will enjoy a discounted price for every 510 megawatts. This will be equal to around 10 percent of Victoria’s total electricity load.
Meanwhile, AGL energy market’s executive general manager Stephen Mikkelsen said that the company is “very pleased” to get into such an agreement with Alcoa aluminium smelter. “The agreement represents a mutually beneficial outcome on commercial terms and is the result of over five months’ negotiation,” he said. “All parties involved have worked exceptionally hard to achieve this outcome.”