Cook Labor Government must intervene to stop closure of Alcoa’s Kwinana refinery

Reports suggesting Alcoa is poised to close its Kwinana alumina refinery are alarming and demand immediate action by the Cook Labor Government, according to WA Liberal Leader Libby Mettam.

“To have the Kwinana refinery close after 60 years of business in WA would be a blow to the state’s economy and the Government should be holding urgent crisis talks with Alcoa to ensure that operations are able to continue.” Ms Mettam said.

“The refinery provides almost 1,200 direct good technical, manufacturing industry and mining jobs which generate around a further 5,000 jobs in the economy.

“This same Labor Government oversaw BP’s closure of its Kwinana refinery after 65 years of operation with a loss of 650 jobs, the closure of Alcoa would be a damning indictment on the Cook Government.

“The Cook and Albanese Governments seem hell bent on making operating conditions so difficult we may lose yet another iconic industry.”

Shadow State Development Minister David Honey said Alcoa had previously warned that the Kwinana refinery was a marginal asset which was beset by the added problems posed by State and Federal Labor government red and green tape.

“Most of the refinery workforce lives around Kwinana, an area with usually higher than average unemployment rates, that would make it difficult for these people to find similar work,” he said.

“These are good jobs that the State Government should be fighting for, instead, it is adding to the refinery’s problems.

Dr Honey said one of the major problems affecting the refinery was that it was being forced to use lower-grade ores, making the operation marginal.

“The reason they aren’t mining higher-grade ore is because the State Government has been dragging its feet on granting the mining approvals,” he said.

“The government can, and must, intervene to facilitate the company’s access to higher-grade ore immediately.

“The other major factor weighing on company management is the Federal Labor Government’s net zero schemes, which are effectively a carbon tax for large energy users.

“The Federal government’s path to net zero will threaten a lot more of our manufacturing sector than just the Kwinana refinery.

“There’s no doubt these two government-driven factors are playing a major role in deciding on the refinery’s future.

“In these circumstances, it is easier for the company to close down the operation rather than keep butting heads with governments seemingly disinterested in helping to keep the jobs going for another 60 years.”