(1) Were there any preliminary indications made to the government that Shell was contemplating the sale of its Geelong refinery.
(2) Were there any meetings between the Victorian government and Shell prior to the public announcement regarding the sale of the refinery.
(3) When was the government advised that Shell would be selling the Geelong refinery.
(4) What are the figures of full time, part time and casual workers currently employed at the refinery.
(5) What resources will the government use to mitigate the impact of the announcement on Shell workers, contractors as well as the wider Geelong community.
(6) What benchmarks has the government set itself in finding solutions to retain the refinery and the current level of employment at the refinery.
(1) Shell advised me shortly before its public announcement in early April 2013 that its Geelong refinery would be put up for sale.
(2) See response to question (1).
(3) See response to question (1).
(4) Shell employs 450 full-time workers and 150 contractors at the refinery.
(5) Shell advised that following the announcement it implemented a program to assist with any staff concerns as a result of the announcement that the refinery is for sale. Regional Development Victoria is working closely with Shell regarding its Geelong workforce.
The government continues to work to attract new investment and generate jobs in Geelong, working closely with business and local stakeholders.
The government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is investing in projects to strategically drive jobs, investment and innovation in regional Victoria. In Geelong, the RGF has provided $26.1 million in funding for 27 projects, leveraging total investment of $360 million and generating hundreds of jobs. This funding has assisted important Geelong projects including the new Geelong Epworth Hospital, which will create 780 health-care jobs, the new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, and infrastructure for Deakin University and the Queenscliff Ferry Terminal.
The government is supporting major job creation projects in Geelong. This includes securing, through a $25 million state government commitment, the national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) headquarters, known as DisabilityCare Australia. The DisabilityCare Australia headquarters will, combined with the scheme’s Barwon region office, bring around 450 new jobs to Geelong and create an additional 160 jobs indirectly.
If the government is re-elected, it will also relocate the Victorian WorkCover Authority head office along with 550 jobs to Geelong. Combined with the TAC and NDIS headquarters, this will create a cluster of insurance and disability-related services in Geelong.
Government support for Cotton On, to create a global headquarters in Geelong and 400 new jobs, is another example of significant job creation. The expansion by Cotton On positions the company to service its rapidly growing international business from Geelong.
The $11 million Geelong Advancement Fund and the $4 million Greater Geelong Industry Fund are also playing an important role in facilitating new jobs and investment in Geelong.
The Greater Geelong Industry Fund has supported almost $5 million in new investment by business and over 90 new jobs, from businesses including Carbon Revolution, Express Promotions, IXL Metal Castings and Farm Foods Retail Services.
The first two Geelong Advancement Fund projects were recently announced and will facilitate almost $70 million of new investment and significant new jobs, including investment to help revitalise central Geelong.
The government is supporting the continued development of the Geelong region by contributing to the $24.5 million Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund, which will attract new investment and create jobs. In addition, through the Skilling the Bay initiative, the Government has made a $4.6 million investment in training to grow future employment opportunities in Geelong.
The government has also made major investments in infrastructure and service provision in the Geelong region, including a new $22 million train station at Grovedale, $93 million for the upgrade of the Geelong Hospital, $50 million for new Waurn Ponds Community Hospital, $15 million for the new Library and Heritage Centre, $27 million for Simonds Stadium major upgrades, $16 million for new facilities at Northern Bay College, $16 million for a new police station and SES complex in Waurn Ponds and many other key projects.
The final section of the Corio to Waurn Ponds Geelong Ring Road was opened to traffic earlier this year and the construction of a $90 million link between Geelong Ring Road and the Surf Coast Highway is about to start.
The port of Geelong is already achieving record trade throughputs and the government is investing millions of dollars to upgrade the port rail loop and to improve channel access for bulk cargo ships, which will secure local jobs and drive new investment in the region.
(6) Shell’s decision to sell the Geelong refinery is a commercial decision. The government stands ready to work with Shell and any potential buyers and investors to attract new investment in oil refining and other activities in Geelong.