In January 2017, out state government announced it would subsidise Alcoa's Portland smelter. I had this letter in the Age the next day:
In deciding to subsidise Alcoa’s electricity bill to keep Alcoa in Portland, the Andrews government faces one of its toughest decisions. Should it prop up the industries of the past by paying them to consume more brown coal and further worsen climate change, or should it put that money into the industries of the future? We can continue to pay Victorians to pollute or we could be paying for large-scale wave power and solar thermal generators. Or we could subsidise Deakin’s Warnambool campus, or other threatened employers in the south-west of the state.
Josh Gordon summarises the dilemma well by questioning the wisdom of “piping brown coal fired electricity 500 kilometres across the state and spending billions to prop up a business that would struggle on its own” but then argues that “it is now very difficult to unscramble the egg.” But this is precisely the sort of issue that governments must confront. The duty of governments is to reverse past mistakes and build for the future, rather than perpetuate past errors.
Tim Read, Brunswick East