Government must demand explanation from Alcoa for offshoring $70 million WA contract

Alcoa should be forced to explain to the WA Government how it can justify cancelling a $70 million contract for lime from WA in favour of an offshore supplier, according to Australian Workers’ Union WA Branch Secretary Brad Gandy.

Alcoa has informed Cockburn Cement – the leading supplier of cement and lime to WA’s mining, agriculture, and construction industries – that the 50 year relationship is over and it intends to source its lime from offshore suppliers from June 2021.

Brad Gandy said the decision was appalling for the local economy still struggling under the weight of COVID-19.

“The union understands that Cockburn Cement currently supplies about a half a million tonnes of lime a year to Alcoa, and this poor decision could result in significant job losses at the plant. This will seriously impact our members who deserve better,” Mr Gandy said.

“Michael Gollschewski should be hauled before Michael McGowan and forced to explain why he’s decided to tear a $70 million hole in the WA economy at this time. This is a tough time for WA and this decision is slap in the face for the local community which has pulled together to tackle this crisis.

“Alcoa has sourced lime locally from Cockburn Cement for nearly fifty years. This decision pulls the rug from underneath a local Australian manufacturer and hundreds of workers and families who rely on these goods jobs.”

Mr Gandy pointed out that Australian manufacturing supply chains operate as an ecosystem and that this decision would have profound knock-on effects.

“Moving this contract is a huge call and one that seems at odds with Alcoa’s social license to operate in WA,” Mr Gandy said.

“This decision will knock-on effect far beyond this one contract. Alcoa generates multibillion dollar profits from our state’s mineral wealth. The very least the company could do is continue to support the WA economy by renewing existing local contracts.

“The Morrison Government should be demanding an explanation from Alcoa as well. Neither the state or federal government should allow Alcoa to get away with such a destructive move without a very clear and detailed explanation. It’s too destructive to simply wave through.”

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