New closure takes more jobs from city in strife
UPDATE - Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Victorian Premier Denis Napthine will meet today to discuss a possible assistance or re-training arrangement. This page will be updated when more information is available.
One major Australian city has heard another of its key employers will shut up shop.
Operators of the Point Henry smelting works in Geelong say that the project will close in August after running for half a century.
The announcement by Alcoa ends speculation over one of the city’s largest employers, with talks about the future of the smelter happening since early 2012.
News Corp has reported more than 500 jobs will be lost with the closure of the site, with 500 more likely to be shed when an adjacent rolling mill and similar Alcoa works in New South Wales shut down too.
“We recognise how deeply this decision impacts employees at the affected facilities and are committed to supporting them through this transition,” Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, has told the ABC.
“Despite the hard work of the local teams these assets are no longer competitive and are not financially sustainable today or into the future.”
The Victorian smelter was the recipient of a $40 million bailout in 2012 from the Gillard government, ensuring it would remain open until this year.
The closure means tough times will continue in the Geelong job market, as Ford announces it is closing its factory near the city and similar fears abound for the future of a nearby Shell refinery.
“Geelong is becoming a manufacturing disaster zone,” Australian Workers Union’s Ben Davis said.
“Their job prospects are terrible,” he added.