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Sun Metals threatens offshore move if ETS goes ahead

The World Today - Thursday, 13 November , 2008 12:10:00

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Government is facing an onslaught from industry today over its plans for
an emissions trading scheme.

The world's largest zinc producer is threatening to close down its Australian smelters if the
scheme goes ahead in 2010 saying carbon trading would make its local operations internationally
uncompetitive. Now a Korean-owned metals company, Sun Metals, is threatening to move to China if
the Government goes ahead with the scheme.

And the Federal Opposition says this is only a taste of the industry anger over the Government's
approach to climate change.

In Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Prime Minister is off to Washington for a special meeting of world leaders on
the global financial crisis. Opposition MPs predict news of his leaked conversation with President
Bush has spread far and wide with damaging consequences.

MICHAEL KEENAN: I think there is no question that when the G20 leaders talk to Kevin Rudd, they
will be very careful what they say for fear of having it leaked to the media later on.

IAN MACFARLANE: Look every political leader is going to wary of who you can and cannot have a
confidential conversation with. Every minister knows that a confidential conversation, even between
ministers, has to remain confidential if you are going to maintain integrity of government.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Labor MPs jumped to their leader's defence.

RICHARD MARLES: Well, the Prime Minister does not go to the G20 with embarrassment and I think the
Prime Minister has cleared up the affair. I mean the Prime Minister is saying that it didn't
happen. The President of the United States is saying that it didn't happen.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But one backbencher didn't get the Government line straight.

JAMES BIDGOOD: There is no question that Kevin Rudd was indiscreet. The case is closed. No damage
is done. That is the official US line.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Any attempts to probe and embarrass Mr Rudd in a Senate inquiry have been averted.
Family First Senator Steve Fielding wanted to set up an investigation into who leaked details of
the phone call in which President Bush reportedly asked what the G20 was, arguing it has damaged
Australia's reputation.

STEVE FIELDING: I think it is a real concern. Why would anyone not support an inquiry? This is
absurd to me. I think that people have got to explain themselves why they wouldn't so look I am
just hoping common sense will prevail this morning.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But even before Steve Fielding put his motion to the Senate, it was clear he didn't
have the numbers. Greens leader Bob Brown, a long-time supporter of the Senate inquiry process
declared there were more important issues dominating the political landscape.

BOB BROWN: Whether the Senate should head to a constitutional showdown, which would be required if
the Prime Minister were to be summoned before the Senate, or not on this issue, on George Bush's
intelligence, I don't think so.

I think the Prime Minister needs a tighter ship so that leaks like this don't occur but it doesn't
warrant the quite extraordinary powers of the Senate being taken to their nth degree.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And independent Senator Nick Xenophon wasn't convinced either.

NICK XENOPHON: Look, I think that the PM and his office have copped grief over this. The question
is do you have a full-blown Senate inquiry and for those of you that have seen the terms of
reference, that involves looking at things, subpoenaing journalists, calling people from the PMs
office and in my very first speech in the Senate, I made it very clear that the protection for
journalists should be increased, not decreased after what happened to McManus and Harvey.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The result clearly frustrated the Opposition's Attorney-General spokesman, George
Brandis.

GEORGE BRANDIS: Nothing could be more serious than a breach of the security of a conversation
between the Prime Minister and the President of the United States of America particularly when
there is credible reason to believe that the source of the disclosure was the Prime Minister
himself.

As a result of the Labor Party's opportunistic and hypocritical conduct, the opportunity for
parliamentary scrutiny has been denied and the Australian people should form, draw their own
conclusions.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Government could have a bigger battle on its hands as it prepares to release
its white paper on an emissions trading scheme. The world's largest zinc producer Nyrstar with
smelters is South Australia and Tasmania is warning if the Government's emissions trading scheme
goes ahead as planned, the company will become uncompetitive globally and be forced to shut up shop
in Australia.

It is a warning the Opposition's environment spokesman Greg Hunt has leapt on. He says Nyrstar is
not the only one. He has added the aluminium, paper and cement industries to the list and a second
zinc producer.

GREG HUNT: There is also Sun Metals from Townsville in Queensland. They have indicated that they
are very seriously considering moving offshore to China and global emissions from their production
will double.

What that means is they produce about a million tonnes of CO2 from their Townville production every
year. If they went to China, their advice is that their emissions would be two million tonnes a
year.

So the Rudd plan will increase global emissions and increase Australian unemployment.

ELEANOR HALL: That is the Opposition spokesman for climate change, environment and water, Greg
Hunt, ending that report by Alexandra Kirk in Canberra.

*Editor's note: Due to production difficulties, this program is the edition broadcast to Queensland
at 13.10pm AEDT.