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Gillard Government must reject Greens' economy-destroying ambitions

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Ian Macfarlane MP

Shadow Minister for Energy & Resources Federal Member for Groom

MEDIA INQUIRIES: KYLIE BARRON 07 4632 4144 0413 229 957 -

House of Representatives Parliament of Australia

27 June 2011 Ref: 01711


The Gillard Government must categorically reject the Greens’ multi-step plan to shut down the Australian coal industry, which would cost Australian jobs in resources and manufacturing and risk a reliable power supply, Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources Ian Macfarlane said.

“Greens leader Bob Brown has also shown his complete ignorance of the realities of the coal industry, by targeting the most gassy mines to be closed first. These mines predominately produce metallurgical coal which is used in the blast furnace to produce steel,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“There is no alternative to using metallurgical coal and you certainly can’t use a solar cell inside a blast furnace to produce steel.

“So by aiming to shut down the coal industry, the Greens’ real objective would be to destroy Australia’s steel manufacturing sector as well, wiping out regional jobs.

“The Greens have made no secret of their contempt for the coal industry, despite the fact that it powers our economy and keeps the lights on in each and every Australian home and business.

“Yesterday, Senator Brown again admitted that the party’s ambition is to shut down the coal industry, irrespective of the tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs it creates and its enormous significance to the Australian economy.

“When asked if some coal mines would have to close as a result of the carbon tax, Senator Brown said ‘that has to be the outcome’ in the long-term and that the coal industry must be replaced by renewables.

“But his party has no sensible plan as to how to meet Australia’s baseload power needs in the absence of coal-fired electricity while keeping electricity affordable and avoiding the risk of blackouts across Australia.

“Not to mention the fact that the Greens’ plans would destroy thousands of jobs in regional Australia. In many of these communities resources projects are the single greatest employer and the lifeblood of local towns.

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Media release from the Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP — Member for Groom Page 2

“The Gillard Government has given the Greens the whip hand in designing the carbon tax, but it cannot allow its partner in Government to continue to create such uncertainty for the coal industry and associated manufacturing sectors.

“The assertions from the Greens that they are prepared to consider industry compensation simply do not stack up alongside the comments from Senator Brown about shutting down the coal industry.

“If the Gillard Government isn’t prepared to publicly and comprehensively repudiate the Greens’ ambitions to bring the coal industry to an end, then it will be complicit in undermining Australia’s largest resources sector and its associated economic benefits.”