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Fed, Vic ministers' NY bid to save smelter

AAP logoAAP 17/12/2016 Kaitlyn Offer

A new power station for Victoria's southwest are among offers being made to Alcoa in a bid to save jobs at the struggling Portland aluminium smelter.

Federal and Victorian industry ministers Greg Hunt and Wade Noonan will fly to New York on Monday to meet with senior global leaders of Alcoa to secure a future for the struggling smelter.

Among possible solution is a new power station to reduce the smelter's vulnerability.

Earlier this month, the smelter was crippled when it lost power for five-and-a-half hours after an interconnector from Victoria to South Australia failed.

"In the longer term we will be working with all involved to find a sustainable power solution and have worked in deep co-operation with the Victorian government and the company to that effect," Mr Hunt said in a statement.

"This could include accessing finance under the federal government's Clean Energy Finance Corporation to help support a new power station for the plant and the region."

Mr Noonan has visited Portland in the wake of the outage and says despite the damaging power cut, the smelter is still a viable asset.

"We owe it to the thousands of workers at Alcoa, their families, and the people of Portland to do all we can to fix this situation," he said in a statement.

"We will leave no stone unturned to ensure the smelter remains viable."

The future of the smelter, which employs more than 500 people directly, has been under a cloud for some time.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed in February Alcoa was in talks with the government about the pressures it was facing.

In May, workers at the plant agreed to a one-year pay freeze to allow for conditions to stabilise, saving the company $1.5 million.

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