June 2, 2003

Community partners help Alcoa Point Henry Smelter celebrate 40 years

To celebrate 40 years as part of the Geelong community, Alcoa Point Henry Smelter held a celebration for its community partners at the Mercure Hotel in Geelong.

More than 120 guests attended the event. Special guests included: the Treasurer and Minister for State and Regional Development, and Minister for Innovation, John Brumby; Minister for Energy Industries, and Minister for Resources, Theo Theophanous; the Mayor of City of Greater Geelong Barbara Abley; and National Secretary of the Australian Workers Union Bill Shorten.
 
In addition, local Members of Parliament, City of Greater Geelong councillors, members of Point Henry’s Community Consultation Forum and Environmental Improvement Plan Committee, neighbours, sponsorship partners, education and training partners and other industries helped Alcoa celebrate.
 
Alcoa Point Henry Smelter Operations Manager John Osborne hosted the evening. In addition to mc-ing the evening, John presented a history of Point Henry while talking about its future.
“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving,” John said in his speech.

“We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it. But we must sail … and not drift … nor lie at anchor.
 
 “We might be 40-years-old but Point Henry is neither drifting nor lying at anchor.  We continue to build on our success from the past with a clear vision of the future.”
 
Guest speakers on the night included Victorian Operations Director Paul Hallam who spoke about Alcoa’s 40 years as part of the broader Australian community.
 
Executive Director of United Way Geelong Gavin Seidel talked about Alcoa’s 40-year partnership with United Way. Gavin presented John with a plaque recognising Alcoa and its employees for 40 years of caring for the community.
 
National Secretary of the Australian Workers Union Bill Shorten also spoke at the event and congratulated the employees who had reached the 40-year milestone.
 
The keynote speaker of the evening was Treasurer and Minister for State and Regional Development, and Minister for Innovation, John Brumby. Minister Brumby spoke in glowing terms about Alcoa’s contribution to Victoria: “I think the real measure of Alcoa’s commitment to the triple bottom line is the very high regard in which it is held among the communities where it operates – not only as a major source of jobs and wealth but as a major contributor to their overall quality of life.
 
“Our government certainly sees Alcoa as the model of what a good corporate citizen should be: constantly developing innovative and sustainable ways to add value to our resources; generating employment and export dollars; and committed to environmental and community care. Victoria is richer in every way for Alcoa’s presence here over the past four decades.”
 
John paid special homage to Point Henry’s 40-year employees: Henk Egberts, Bob Paulden, Morgan Quick, Neville Stallio and Point Henry’s longest serving female employee Kay Eckersley. Peter Rankin (Alcoa Kaal Australia) was also recognised for his 40 years of service.
 
In her speech she made on the night, Kay Eckersley said: “I have often looked around me at important times in my life – significant birthdays, sad times, and celebrations – the close and what I call ‘heart’ friends are people I’ve met working at Alcoa.
 
“Certainly not all of them have stayed with Alcoa but I do have people in my life who I’ve had now for 40 years. These people are now my family. Hopefully I’m still making more friends.
 
“Some of us have really grown up at Alcoa. I hope we all still keep going out there - not because we have to but because we want to.”
 
The night was an overwhelming success. The following week in Parliament, local Members Elaine Carbines and The Honourable John Eren spoke about the event.
 
Elaine Carbines, MLC, Geelong Province said: “Since 1963 Alcoa has fostered very positive relationships with the community of Geelong as was clearly demonstrated by the number of local organisations who were represented at Monday night’s dinner. It was indeed a wonderful celebration where longstanding employees, some of whom have worked for Alcoa since 1963, were duly recognised.
 
“As a member for Geelong Province, I would like to congratulate Alcoa, its management, its workers and their leaders… on its 40th birthday and thank them for the integral role they have played in the Geelong community since 1963.”
 
The Honourable John Eren, MLC, Geelong Province added: “Alcoa is an integral part of Geelong’s community. I am pleased to say Alcoa is a good corporate citizen that works in conjunction with the local community and government to ensure it keeps its environmental impact to a minimum…There were a number of employees who have worked there since the plant was built 40 years ago.  This is a clear indication that Alcoa is a company that takes care of its employees.
 
“I am a big supporter of the manufacturing sector and I congratulate Alcoa on having provided economic benefits to the Geelong Region over the past 40 years. I, along with my colleagues in the Geelong region, will to the best of our ability ensure with the Bracks Labour government that such companies are around for a long time to come.”