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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 704


Ms HENDERSON (Corangamite) (15:59): I rise to address recent developments on the jobs front in my electorate of Corangamite, in the Geelong region. Sadly, Alcoa announced last week that it would close its Point Henry smelter in August and its rolling mill by the end of the year. This is a devastating blow. My heart goes out to the 800 workers affected, as well as to suppliers and of course their families. I wish to put on record my disappointment that Alcoa is not providing its workforce with more lead time. The Mayor of the City of Greater Geelong and even the AWU and other unions share my concerns. The only one not apparently concerned about workers' rights in this respect is the member for Corio. On this point he has remained silent.

We have seen, luckily, how quickly our fortunes can change. I visited Shell's Geelong refinery on Friday after 600 jobs were saved when Shell found a buyer for the refinery. During the week, I met with the Prime Minister, the Minister for Industry and the Geelong mayor, with the Prime Minister committing to announcements in coming weeks.

I am also a member of the government's industry and manufacturing economic review panel, which reconvened today. The panel will inform the design of the government's $100 million growth fund. We also have a $24.5 million Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund. The first round of announcements from this fund is imminent. This fund will provide direct support to local businesses to grow jobs in emerging sectors and new industries. Each and every day, we are getting on with the job of creating jobs.