Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett has said the former federal government’s 2012 cash injection to the Alcoa Point Henry smelter was merely about trying to “save face”.
The Australian Financial Review reported Kennett’s criticisms over the weekend.
The troubled smelter, which is tipped to be shut after a company review is handed down in March, was given $40 million by the federal Labor and Victorian Liberal governments to stay open until this year.
Kennett said that the assistance had “nothing to do with the economics or competitiveness” of the Point Henry site, and that he was personally opposed to “political subsidies that buy time to save face for political parties.”
Greg Combet, the then-federal industry minister, defended the process, and that he, “was interested in saving jobs and giving the plant an opportunity to get itself on a better footing.”
Combet is currently advising the South Australian government on how to help the state adjust to the end of manufacturing by Holden in 2017, and sits on the board of the South Australian Manufacturing Council.