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Carbon tax threatens coal jobs: Truss

Nationals leader Warren Truss warns the NSW and Queensland coal industry to get behind the anti-carbon tax movement

April 21, 2011

The Labor government’s carbon tax poses a grave threat to the future of the coal industry, leader of the Nationals Warren Truss says.

Truss has called on the
coal regions
of the Illawarra and Hunter in NSW, as well as across Queensland need to get behind industry efforts to force federal Labor to abandon its carbon tax.

According to Truss, Australian Coal Association (ACA) Chief Executive Ralph Hillman
believes if Labor uses fugitive emissions from coal mining as a means of reaching its gas emissions reduction target of
5 percent bye 2020, “the only it can be done
is by closing mines”.

“Mr Hillman’s concerns are well founded,” Truss says.

“Targeting all aspects of the coal supply chain is a key element of the push for reducing Australia’s carbon emissions.

“Labor’s climate change guru Professor Ross Garnaut has highlighted the fact that almost half of Australia’s emissions growth to 2020 will come from greenhouse gases that escape during mining operations, especially for coal and gas.

“The Prime Minister habitually and deliberately refers to coal as ‘dirty’ and demonises Australian industry generally – not recognising it as a major employer and generator of societal wealth – but as ‘the big polluters’.

“The Greens would ban any new coal mines, any expansion of existing coal mines, new coal-fired power stations, and even any public assistance for the refurbishment of existing coal-fired power stations to make them cleaner.

“Make no mistake, Labor and the Greens are out to destroy every aspect of Australia’s coal industry, as quickly as they can.”

Truss says an ACIL Tasman report for the ACA in 2009 identified 16 coal mines that would be forced to close prematurely, with job losses exceeding 9,000, because of the Rudd era’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, upon which the new carbon tax is modelled.

The closures would inevitably be in the coal fields of the Illawarra and Hunter, as well as across Queensland.

“The economics of many coal mines are even tougher today because of the high dollar and the surge in competing supply sources for the mainly Asian market, especially China,” Truss adds.

“Even more mines could be adversely affected than those highlighted two years ago. So miners, their unions and their communities need to understand they are now in a desperate, last ditch battle for their very livelihoods.

“They need to make their voices heard.”

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