Greens Show Callous Disregard

Tuesday 20th December 2016


Attempts by the Greens to stand in the way of any move to save Alcoa at Portland, and the thousands of jobs that are at stake, verged on the indecent, the Australian Workers’ Union Victorian Secretary Ben Davis said today.


Reports that Greens Leader Adam Bandt is demanding the smelter should only continue if it can run on renewable energy showed he was either naive or malicious, he said.


“The glee with which the Greens wave off heavy industry, and the jobs that go with it, is callous in the extreme,” Mr Davis said.


“Putting up roadblocks wherever they can and destroying long established industry and jobs is not good policy, it’s a recipe for disaster.”


There are 680 people employed full time at the smelter, which is Victoria’s largest single exporter. Another 2000 jobs depend on its operation. Closure would cause catastrophic damage to Portland and the region.


“Inner city Greens need to get out of their ivory towers and go see what reality looks like,” Mr Davis said.


“This small privileged group should not be allowed to affect sweeping change with no sense of responsibility for the damage that is done to so many lives.


“The Greens know very well that it will be 10 years before it would be realistic to run the smelter on renewables and yet they say that is the only way they can tolerate its existence. Renewables at this stage cannot supply the reliable base load energy that the aluminium smelter needs in order to operate.


“The message is clear, they are saying ‘we don’t like it, close it and bugger the consequences’.”