“Labor’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) comes at the very high cost of thousands of jobs in the coal dependent Bowen Basin and union leaders are just watching it happen,” said The Nationals’ Senator Ron Boswell during a tour of coal communities in central Queensland this week.
“Union leaders went to the ACTU Congress in Brisbane last week to talk about jobs being their priority but it’s their own future Parliamentary careers they’re looking after. They are not standing up for the jobs of their coalmining members.”
“CFMEU Chief Tony Maher is one of the government’s loudest ETS cheerleaders. He should be looking after coalmining jobs not selling them out. The Bowen Basin has already lost 3,500 jobs since October last year. They can’t afford to lose any more.”
Senator Boswell said that there was now so much evidence of the future suffering of coal communities under the ETS that the government must radically change its policy.
“Access Economics was commissioned by the Council for the Australian Federation chaired by Qld Premier Anna Bligh to report on the impact of the ETS. They found that:-
• by 2020/21 the impact of the CPRS is most evident in Queensland, largely due to lower coal royalties, with the Queensland budget $1.899 billion worse off
• Queensland is also expected to experience the greatest impacts from the CPRS by 2030 due to its heavy reliance on coal fired electricity, aluminium smelting and strong concentration of exported coal mining production
• Thermal coal output is projected to decrease by 28.5% by 2015 and 42.3% by 2025, while coking coal output is projected to decrease by 9.6% by 2015 and 12.2% by 2025.”
“What is Tony Maher doing about this threat to his members’ jobs?”
“The Australian Coal Association’s Mr Hillman told a recent Senate Committee that
• instead of receiving 66 per cent permit allocation like other trade-exposed activities such as LNG or chemicals, the coal industry receives just 4.5 per cent under the ETS
• the coal industry will pay the government over $14 billion over the first 10 years of the scheme with ‘very serious consequences for our competitiveness and for jobs’
• in the first 10 years of the scheme, 16 mines will close prematurely
• by 2021 there will be at least 10,000 fewer people employed directly or indirectly by the coal industry, and coal production will be 22 million tonnes below business as usual.”
“Mr Maher’s contribution to the debate is to say there is investment risk if the ETS debate is delayed. What about job risk if the ETS is not delayed, Mr Maher?”
“Mr Maher is paid to stand up for his members’ jobs. Being an apologist for a job-destroying Emissions Trading Scheme is the opposite of his job description.”
“There are no alternative Green jobs for miners in Central Queensland. Recently the Climate Institute released Green job details. Unfortunately they didn’t include one construction job or investment in Central Qld where thousands of Mr Maher’s members currently work.”
Senator Boswell questioned why the United States could recognise the need for a Climate Change Worker Adjustment Assistance Scheme in their legislation but there was no such thing in the Rudd’s ETS.
“The US is establishing a program to entitle any worker displaced as a result of their Clean Air Act to be entitled to 156 weeks of income supplement, 80 percent of their monthly health care premium, up to $1,500 for job search assistance, up to $1,500 for moving assistance, and additional employment services for skills assessment, job counselling, training, and other services.”
“Mr Maher, where is Australia’s ETS Worker Assistance Scheme? Local Labor federal MPs and union leaders are not standing up for their constituents. They are not fighting to keep local jobs or help workers displaced by the ETS.”