Geelong braces for job losses at Alcoa, Shell

Geelong is preparing for the impact of the Alcoa Point Henry smelter’s closure.

At least 800 jobs in Geelong will be lost in the next
five months, reports the ABC, and though the demise of the smelter had been
expected for some time, the effects would be significant.

“You can’t take 800 jobs out of the local economy without having
some of impact there,” said the local chamber of commerce’s
Bernadette Uzelac.

“We certainly are looking at what other industries we can attract
new investment and business to Geelong.”

The Age reports that unemployment has been creeping up in the
manufacturing heartland, which has seen its unemployment rate increase to 7.3
per cent from 6.7 per cent for the year to September 2013.

The Metalworkers’ Union’s Peter Douglas has predicted that
every job lost at Alcoa would see seven related jobs disappear.

In further bad news, the Herald Sun reports that there
is speculation a buyer has been found for Shell’s Geelong refinery.

There are 450 full-time and 150 contractor employees
and a buyer would be likely to convert the site into an import-only terminal.
According to Herald Sun, all jobs bar 50 would be lost in such a scenario.