Tax will cut 6300 Rocky jobs: QRC

MORE than 6000 jobs could be slashed by 2020 in the Rockhampton Regional Council area as a result of the carbon tax, according to the head of the Queensland Resources Council.

But the comments by QRC chief executive Michael Roche were yesterday condemned by Federal Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore as a “mine industry lobbyist’s scare campaign”.

Mr Roche said research completed for QRC showed some 6300 jobs based in Rockhampton in the mining and mining services industry were under threat from the proposed carbon price.

In addition to the potential loss of 6300 jobs in Rockhampton, Mr Roche said the study revealed nine out of 10 jobs could be at risk in the Isaac and Central Highlands Regional Council areas.

He said if a carbon price was set about $23, rising to a price which would ensure a reduction in Australia’s total carbon emissions by 2020 of 5%, the Queensland coal industry would be out of pocket by $10 billion.

Mr Roche said: “The QRC is not simply concerned about the impact that this will have on coal mines, but on the ripple effect on small businesses operating in places like Rockhampton.

“It’s also a case that the coal industry will have an increase in costs that our international competitors do not have. I’m talking about places like the United States, South Africa, Indonesia and Colombia – none of these countries have a tax on carbon emissions.

“Simply putting a tax on the emissions won’t stop the emissions happening, it will mean countries will get their coal from somewhere else, and send our jobs overseas, to places where they aren’t trying to reduce emissions.

“By 2017-18 it is estimated that 2700 Queensland coal workers would be out of a job, with total job losses of more than 13,000 after taking account of the flow-on impacts to people who rely on the coal industry for their livelihood.”

But, Mr Roche said the direct concern for the coal industry under a carbon price was the methane released when coal was physically extracted from the ground.

However, Ms Livermore said: “Michael Roche knows as well as I do that what is happening in the resources industry is a skills shortage.

“BHP said as much in a newspaper story yesterday, and what he (Roche) needs to tell the companies like BHP, is to stick to the script.

“The people of Central Queensland only need to believe their own eyes that the companies are continuing to invest in the region, and they wouldn’t if they thought they wouldn’t get a return on their money.”

The Prime Minister will announce the carbon price tomorrow.

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