Reviewed legislation could save Boyne Smelters $25m

BOYNE Smelters Ltd general manager of operations Joe Rea has his fingers crossed that MPs and senators will help save the company $25 million a year.

Politicians are in negotiations to review the Renewable Energy Target so legislation will provide a 100% exemption for the ailing aluminium industry.

An agreement has to be reached by the end of this month.

If the exemption is granted, it will help the smelter to the tune of $25 million each year.

The smelter has paid more than $125 million in RET costs since 2001.

Mr Rea said the continuation of RET costs had to be absorbed by smelters that add value to Australian natural resources at a time when the industry could least afford it and when many other Australian manufactures have closed or are signalling their closure.

"Removing regulatory costs such as the RET would help secure the long-term future of aluminium smelting in Australia," he said.

Forecast RET costs for the next five years amount to $120 million.

The Boyne smelter employs 1000 people directly and indirectly supports 6700 jobs nationally - 3000 of those jobs are in Gladstone.

Australian Aluminium Council CEO Miles Prosser yesterday said Australian smelters were being unfairly treated in comparison to their competitors overseas.

"The issue for us is that our smelters are competing with others around the world who don't have to deal with these costs," he said.

"If you're looking at cutting costs (to remain a viable industry), you are better to look at changing legislation rather than have to cut labour costs."