Alumina's chief executive hopes there is a silver lining that comes out of the coronavirus for Portland's struggling smelter.
Mike Ferraro, head of Alcoa's major partner, said he hoped government leaders would consider the need to minimise job losses in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
He said he hoped they would prioritise protecting the smelter's hundreds of jobs by offering additional financial support.
"If you are trying to kickstart an economy again, you would want to minimise permanent job losses," Mr Ferraro said.
He made the comment following the company's AGM on Wednesday.
"Mike Ferraro made the comment about minimizing job losses to kick start the economy as a general statement in a call with journalists following Alumina's AGM," an Alumina spokesman said.
"Specifically he made it clear that what Portland needs is a long term, viable and competitive energy solution."
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell called on the state government to do something to protect jobs.
"The Portland smelter is vital not only to the Portland community and local economy, but the entire south-west regional economy," Ms Britnell said.
"The Andrews Labor government taxed the energy industry in Victoria so intensely it sent energy prices through the roof."
Ms Britnell said the state government needed to provide reliable, affordable energy.
"To not do this risks manufacturing in the state, including at Portland, and we all know how important that is," she said.
"Given we have so many Victorians now out of work, I urged the Andrews Labor government to do everything it can to secure the 1200 jobs the smelter supports in the Portland and south-west community and to do it sooner rather than later to provide some security for the workers and community."
Comment from the state government has been sought.
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