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Coal cries foul on carbon tax

A plan to reduce Australia’s carbon footprint will be the single biggest legislative victory for climate change action in the nation’s history, lobby group GetUp! says.

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But the positive reaction was tempered by angry reactions from other

Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday announced the government’s Clean Energy Future plan, which sets a $23 per tonne price on carbon from July 1, 2012.

“The climate agreement announced today will be the single biggest legislative victory for climate change action in Australia’s history, if passed by parliament later this year,” GetUP’s national director Simon Sheikh said in a statement.

He said it would also enable Australia to join the 31 countries around the world that have already moved to price carbon.

“It will help Australia be a powerful voice in international negotiations where other nations are considering what their next move will be,” he said.

But some industries are joining the opposition in an attempt to block the legislation before it is passed.

‘JEOPARDISING’ COAL JOBS

The coal industry on Monday launched an advertising campaign critical of the jobs impact of carbon pricing.

Queensland Resources Council spokesman Michael Roche said the tax would jeopardise about 3000 coal mining jobs and 13,000 jobs servicing the industry, without fair compensation.

“The coal industry should have qualified for carbon permit compensation to the tune of 66 per cent of their liabilities,” he said.

“Instead, the industry has been given assistance equivalent to seven per cent – it’s a miserable package.”

About 40,000 people work in Australian coal mines and a further 100,000 indirectly, according to industry estimates.

Ms Gillard told Fairfax Radio coal jobs would increase under her plan.

“There will be growth in jobs in coal,” she said.

“The demand for coal will continue very strong. In terms of the impact of carbon pricing on coal mining the average impact is $1.40 per tonne.

This is in the situation where coal prices have more than doubled, so we will see continued growth in coal mining.”

The coal industry was working on ways to cut emissions, and abatement could be bought from overseas under the scheme, Ms

Gillard said.

The Australian Aluminium Council said the scheme would hit the industry with rising production costs in the coming years.

The Australian Retailers Association said its members would cop the full effect of price increases because they were at the end of the supply chain, particularly at a time when consumers were already reluctant to spend.

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown on Sunday said the scheme would lead to no new coal-fired power stations being built in

Australia.

 

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