The Greens have called on the state and federal governments to buy the Portland aluminium smelter and retrofit it with green technology to turn it into a big reverse battery, following news that a deal has been struck between Alcoa and several energy retailers.
According to reports, the state and/or federal government has also provided Alcoa with support, yet these details have been kept secret. Over the years, Victorian governments have given hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to the multinational company to keep it open.
The Portland smelter primarily uses polluting brown coal and is the biggest energy user in Victoria.
For years Victorian taxpayers have subsidised Alcoa’s smelter power bill but the cost of the deals and any conditions in them have usually been kept secret by the government.
Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, said taxpayers deserved to know how much money was being given to Alcoa by the government.
She added that instead of secret deals that see money funnelled into a private multinational corporation, the state government should instead buy the smelter and transform it into a ‘reverse battery’ powered by renewable energy.
Smelters around the world do it and we could too. It would be a way to revive manufacturing in Victoria in a clean and renewable way, supporting workers, Portland and our climate.
Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
“For years Victorian taxpayers have subsidised Alcoa’s smelter power bill, but the cost of those deals and any conditions in them have been kept secret by the government.
“Taxpayers deserve to know how much money is being given to this private multinational corporation.
“And instead of these secret deals every few years, could we get a better deal if the government simply bought the smelter, put it in public hands, powered it with renewable energy, and retrofitted it with clean technology as has happened with smelters in Germany?
“This way we could keep jobs in Portland long-term and create green aluminium with renewable energy right here in Victoria.”