30 October 2020

SUBJECT: Closure of BP’s Kwinana oil refinery.



SUBJECT: Closure of BP’s Kwinana oil refinery.
OLIVER PETERSON, HOST: BP has announced it's going stop production at its Kwinana refinery. Instead it’s going to be converted into an input terminal. 650 West Australians to lose their jobs. The Labor Member for Brand is Madeleine King and she joins me live on the program this afternoon. Madeleine, this is a sad day and there's a personal touch here for you as well. I believe your father worked there.
MADELEINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE: Yeah, absolutely Ollie. It is a devastating day for those workers. I heard when I got off the plane from Canberra and I was pretty emotional about it actually because my dad was one of the first workers there in the 50s. He worked there for over 30 years. To think the work he did -- and the work that thousands of others have done in the 65 years the refinery has been there -- is now at an end is just devastating. My thoughts are with the workers today and some of them are my friends from high school. I know these people, I’ve known them for years. So it's a really big deal, it's devastating, it shouldn't have to happen, it shouldn't end like this.
PETERSON: And it's obviously a big part of your electorate as well Madeleine. It’s been a cornerstone of your electorate, as you say, now for decades.
KING: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you can't underestimate the importance of BP to the state's economy. When it was built in the 50s it was the first big foreign investment into the state, the first big industrial capacity that was built which led to things like the dredging of Cockburn Sound, which then brought all the other industry with it. So it was a pivotal turning point in the development of the state.  The bitumen on the roads has all been made at BP, all around the state. It’s a fundamental part of our economy and we've got to this period in our history where that's now going to disappear. The skills, the expertise of the women and men that work there, will be no more. How can this be allowed to happen in these increasingly turbulent times in our world, where we will not be able to have that sovereign capacity of refining fuel? It’s not a thing you kind of want to do as a country, like ‘that'd be nice’ -- it's an absolutely essential critical capability that this country and this state needs, and it's going.
PETERSON: Is there anything that can be done, Madeleine.
KING: There has to be. If you're the government, you find ways to make things happen, especially when it comes to things like this that are so critical to our sovereignty and national capability. You'd like BP to be able to do it themselves, of course you would, but when they can't then you need to get involved and do all you can to make sure they can stay, to keep these workers in jobs for the long term, so that we still have the capacity in the state to refine fuel -- the stuff we use every single day. We want to talk about the tourism industry getting going again and sending planes around the state and around the country, but we're not going to be able to make the Avgas anymore that we made at BP. This is what we are losing here today and I really hope the government, the Federal Government, steps up to the plate and saves this really important industry. I heard Brad Gandy, a friend of mine from the AWU, speaking earlier. These workers were blindsided, but the whole state’s blindsided. We were all blindsided by this. And it looks like we sit on the sidelines and wave goodbye to another capacity that this state used to have.
PETERSON: Tough weekend ahead for many, many families. So, Madeleine, I'm sure this will be taken up and you will do that as well over the weekend and next week.
KING: You bet.
PETERSON: Appreciate your time this afternoon.
KING: Great, really appreciate it Ollie. Take care.
PETERSON: The Member for Brand, that is Madeleine King. As she said, her father worked at the BP refinery for 30 years.