“The industry, if turned off, cannot simply be turned back on.”
It comes as doubt surrounds the future of the Portland, while Rio Tinto chief Jean-Sebastien Jacques has described its smelters in Queensland and NSW as being on “thin ice” as the company continues to seek cheaper long-term energy deals.
The Portland smelter, which has received $230 million in state and federal subsidies, posted a loss in 2019.
The Australian aluminium industry directly employs around 14,500 people nationally and provides incomes to a further 40,000 families in regional Australia, said the joint statement, adding that most of these employees and contractors were locally based, living near regional operations around Australia.
“The Aluminium Council and the Australian Workers’ Union call on state and federal governments to do everything in their collective power to keep Australians safe today while maintaining the essential aluminium industry, which will be critical in keeping our country prosperous today and rebuilding it in the future,” it said.