'Jobs at stake': Plea to save Gladstone region industry

SUPPORT for Boyne Island jobs has been questioned after the Victorian and Federal Governments committed $240 million to save workers at the Alcoa Smelter.

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd wants to see his government throw support behind Boyne Smelter Limited in a bid to prevent the announced cut to jobs and production.

Today he has penned letters to Federal Ministers as a plea for help for BSL, which directly employs about 1000 people.

>> 'Concerned': How power price pushed BSL to cut jobs, production

>> Victorian smelter handed $240m lifeline day after BSL cut announcement

While the Alcoa deal was made under different circumstances, with the site suffering from damage by a power outage, Mr O'Dowd said it was time his government and the state stepped up for BSL.

BSL general manager Joe Rea says "sky-rocketing" electricity prices pushed them to make the "difficult decision" that would result in jobs lost.

Boyne Smelters general manager operations Joe Rea announced job cuts due to increased power prices.
Boyne Smelters general manager operations Joe Rea announced job cuts due to increased power prices. Mike Richards GLA200117bsljobs

Mr O'Dowd says Queensland's electricity prices needed to be reviewed.

In the meantime, he wants to secure funds to help get Boyne Smelter Limited through this year.

He said this problem had plagued the industry for four years.

In that time Mr O'Dowd had brought up Queensland's electricity pricing in Federal Parliament and spoken with other ministers about what can change.

"I don't know how much harder I could've pushed," he said.

"I don't think Boyne Island could've done more either."

Today Mr O'Dowd is expected to speak with Environment And Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to see what assistance the Federal Government could give to BSL.

Federal member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.
Federal member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd. Chris Ison ROK210616croad4

Next week he says he is meeting with an officer from the Prime Minister's office to speak about BSL's situation.

"I was surprised to see (the Federal Government funding commitment to Alcoa), I'm disappointed," Mr O'Dowd said.

"I knew they were considering it and Portland was at a more critical state, whereas we are cutting back.

"Either way, these are jobs at stake and what assistance we can get from federal or state, it's going to keep an eye on our manufacturing industry.

"What's the point of making new jobs when we can't look after existing jobs?"

The announcement yesterday was that Boyne Smelter Limited would cut 45,000 tonnes from its aluminium production.

Mr Rea could not confirm how many jobs would be lost, saying "we'll know more in coming weeks".



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