The Hon Wade Noonan MP - travel report - United States of America, December 2016

Minister The Hon. Wade Noonan MP
Portfolio Minister for Industry and Employment
Countries visited United States of America
Date of travel 19 - 23 December 2016
No. of official travel days 5
Number of accompanying ministerial staff 1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency) Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Air fares $25,398.00*
Accommodation $2,424.00*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $3,270.00*
Travel cost for minister and staff $31,092.00*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

To meet with the Chief Executive Officer of Alcoa Corporation, Mr Roy Harvey, in New York, in collaboration with the Australian Government Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the future of the Portland aluminium smelter which is at risk of closure due to a major curtailment event on 1 December 2016 and an inability to secure a viable market rate electricity price for the Portland smelter. An offer of financial assistance was also made in writing to Alcoa and its joint venture partners in the smelter by the Victorian Government at the meeting.

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

The travel to New York to discuss the future of the Portland aluminium smelter with Alcoa Corporation averted a possible closure decision being made by Alcoa in relation to the smelter. A closure decision would result in the loss of 650 direct employees and contractors and an estimated 1,400 indirect jobs in the Portland region, the loss of more than $120 million per annum to the local economy and loss of Victoria's largest single exporter. The discussions were focused on how the Australian and Victorian Government could assist with the re-start and on-going operations of the smelter.

Next steps / Follow up

Since the travel, the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources has finalised an agreement with Alcoa of Australia and its joint venture partners in the Portland aluminium smelter in relation to financial assistance.

On 20 January 2017, the Premier announced that the Victorian Government had reached an agreement to support the ongoing operation of the smelter, and Alcoa announced that it had signed a new electricity contract and agreements with both the Australian and Victorian Governments' that secured the future of the smelter and its associated jobs.

Page last updated: 16 March 2017