Hobsons Bay’s biggest ratepayers, owners of the Mobil Altona Refinery, have cried foul after a proposed 1.14 per cent increase in petrochemical rates under the draft Hobsons Bay council budget.
A Mobil spokesman said any rates increase would “further hurt” the business, which was suffering from reduced demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of four remaining refineries in Australia, Mobil’s Altona operations have been affected by border closures, flight cancellations and stay home orders.
Demand for jet fuel demand has dropped by up to 90 per cent.
“Due to significant reductions in demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic combined with the lower oil price environment, our refining and supply business in Victoria has seen a significant business impact over the past four months,” the Mobil spokesman said.
“The Federal Government has recognised this and appropriate short and long-term reforms to support industry during this unprecedented event are being considered in consultation with industry.
“To have any local council rate increase at this time, will further hurt the economics of the Altona refinery at this already challenging time.
“Each year, Mobil contributes significantly to the Hobsons Bay City Council, through strong local employment, community support and more than $1 million in rates.”
The Altona refinery produces half of Victoria’s refined fuel needs.