THE NEWS WRAP: Tony Abbott to meet Victorian Premier after Alcoa closure announcement

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is set to meet with his Victorian counterpart, Premier Denis Napthine, following Alcoa’s announcement of the closure of the Point Henry smelter near Geelong at the end of this year.


The smelter employs 500 staff, while the company’s rolling mills in Geelong and Yennora in New South Wales employ a further 480.


The announcement compounds the blow the city suffered after Ford announced it would end production at its Geelong plant.


“This smelter has continued with a workplace arrangement which is now out of step with other aluminium smelters in Australia, specifically [Tasmania’s] Bell Bay, where the workers have opted for job security and productivity ahead of continued changes to the award and falls in overall productivity,” federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says.


“We’ll be looking at whether or not we need to revise that amount of funding [for the Ford plant closure] and whether or not we should add a prominent person from the Geelong area to assist the panel in making sure that Geelong gets its share of that money as part of the transition.”


NSW gas prices set to rise


Gas prices in NSW are set to rise, with two major energy companies both applying to increase their retail rates by 20%.


AGL is proposing a price increase for consumers in the greater Sydney area and inland NSW, while rival Origin Energy has proposed an increase for consumers in the southwest of the state.


The state’s energy tribunal will examine both applications and accept public comment before any increases are introduced in July.


“The sad part is with prices like that increasing, we are going to see businesses driven to the wall… we are going to see households less able to pay for basic supplies,” Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox told the ABC.


Candy Crush Saga maker plans IPO


King, the software development firm behind the popular mobile game Candy Crush Saga, is gearing up for an IPO that analysts say could list value the company at $US5 billion.


“Mobile usage is exploding and games are commanding the lion’s share of time spent,” King co-founder and chief executive Riccardo Zacconi says in the prospectus.


“Consumption habits have changed – mobile has meant that people consume more digital content than they ever have before, and they want to be entertained over short periods of time whenever and wherever they are.”




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up to 16141.4. The US dollar is up to US90.37 cents.


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