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Bleak future for trade-exposed industries.

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The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Shadow Minister for Trade (to 22 September 2008)

The Rudd Labor Government cannot continue to ignore the mounting evidence about the devastating impact its flawed emissions trading scheme will have on the Australian economy.

Shadow Minister for Trade Ian Macfarlane spoke extensively on this issue while outlining his concerns during his speech on the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Bill in Parliament this morning.

“Without the technology and with the start date for an ETS less than two years away, we should be alarmed about something far worse than climate change,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Looming large is the prospect of the lights going out and the Rudd/Wong ETS strangling our economy and trashing our jobs.

“Of particular concern is the bleak future facing trade-exposed energy intensive industries.

“Along with concerns of the Coalition parties at the reckless pace of implementation of the ETS, there is now a groundswell of anxiety not only within the business community, but also from unions about the effects the Rudd/Wong ETS.”

The National Secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Paul Howes, told ABC Radio in Adelaide this morning:

‘If Ross Garnaut was implemented without any amendments... then I would see large proportions of trade exposed industries in the State like South Australia going offshore, particularly industries like the LNG industry, oil and gas and cement.

You’ve also got severe impacts on the Whyalla Steelworks and I think that a lot of people in the community don’t understand that what we’ll be doing is actually not just closing these industries for good, but actually closing these industries and they’ll be reopening overseas where the... level of greenhouse gas emissions will be pumped in to the sky...’

“Little wonder that, with rising interest rates and plummeting business and consumer confidence, the Australian public is getting jittery," Mr Macfarlane said.

“The overwhelming pattern from this Government is to promise the world, airbrush the details and then concede it cannot deliver.

“What confidence can the community, business and industry have that the outcome will be any different on an Emissions Trading Scheme.”