"Rudd's ETS has today claimed its first Australian manufacturing scalp and it is the blue collar workers of Rockhampton who will lose out", said the Nationals' Senator Ron Boswell today.
At midday today Cement Australia – Australia's largest cement manufacturer – notified 32 plant employees at its Parkhurst facility in Rockhampton that the plant would be mothballed from September this year.
In a statement released earlier today Cement Australia said:
The Federal Government’s determination to pass the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme has meant the long term prospects for the plant have been undermined so the business has taken a decision to resolve the matter in fairness to our employees.
"I have been ringing the alarm bells warning communities, workers and their unions about the dire consequences of Rudd's flawed ETS for many months", said Senator Boswell.
"Today's unfortunate announcement for the City of Rockhampton should stand as a real wake up call for blue collar workers all around the country.
"Workers and communities must increase pressure in support of Australian manufacturing in the face of Labor's flawed ETS and demand their paid union representatives and local Labor members to stand up for their jobs and their communities.
"Today we are seeing the beginnings of the destruction of Labor's ETS. The ETS hasn't even yet begun. It was defeated in the Senate last week but the writing is already on the wall for Australia's manufacturing industries.
"Labor said this wouldn't happen. The unions said this wouldn't happen. Well, it has. Blue collar jobs are being sacrificed for Rudd's green tokenism.
"Every time I've raised the alarm bells about the destruction of blue collar jobs from this flawed ETS I have been accused by Labor and by the unions of baseless scaremongering.
"Back in December last year I held a media conference at the gates of Cement Australia's Gladstone plant warning of the consequences of Labor's ETS for blue collar workers in the cement industry.
"At that time it was announced that Gladstone would lose a $1 billion dollar investment in cement plant upgrades because of Rudd's ETS – a massive loss of investment and new blue collar jobs in Gladstone's regional economy.
This time its Rockhampton and it’s the loss of existing blue collar jobs.
Australia's mining, manufacturing and agricultural industries have been waving the warning flags for months but Rudd won't listen and neither will his local Labor members or the trade unions.
In which state, in which region, in which industry will Labor's flawed ETS claim the jobs of more blue collar workers?