ACA boss Ralph Hillman makes his case in Rockhampton before addressing business leaders at Kershaw House.
ACA boss Ralph Hillman makes his case in Rockhampton before addressing business leaders at Kershaw House. Sharyn Oneill

Carbon price no certainty: Hillman

RALPH Hillman reckons public opinion could yet sink Julia Gillard’s carbon tax.

In Rockhampton to launch the Australian Coal Association’s million-dollar advertising campaign on the potential impact of a carbon tax, the association’s executive director said he thought the Government faced a torrid time.

“It hasn’t got the tick of approval in Parliament yet and it’s a very difficult area of policy that has to win approval in both houses.

“We should not assume it will get up,” he said pointing out that everyone believed the previous Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme was a certainty in 2009 before Kevin Rudd was axed by his own side.

“It is a very dangerous area for policy making. A carbon price looked a certainty in America, but now it’s been buried without a trace.”

There were no guarantees, he said, that it would get through Parliament before the next federal election in 2013, or earlier.

“The carbon tax is just a proposal at this stage and before it becomes law we believe there is still a chance to get the Government to reconsider some of the more detrimental elements,” he said.

“The Government knows there is a better way to introduce a price on carbon to ensure that we don’t harm Australia’s long-term economic interests.”

Mr Hillman described the tax as a sledgehammer that would have far reaching implications for industry, jobs and livelihoods.

He said a carbon tax would not wipe out the coal industry in Central Queensland but some existing mines would become unviable.

There would be substantially less growth because resources companies would simply invest in countries which were not “hitting themselves with a massive tax”.

Across Australia the association said 4700 jobs would be lost in existing mines and more than 14,000 jobs were at risk in core reliant businesses.

“It is utterly futile to try to reduce emissions generated by mining coal,” he said. “Only 6% of the country’s emissions are from mining and the only way to reduce that further is to close the mines.”



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