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Hawker calls for study on employment impact of CPRS.



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Federal Member for Wannon

Hamilton Office 190 Gray St, HAMILTON VIC 3300 Warrnambool Office 73 Kepler St WARRNAMBOOL VIC 3280 Freecall 1300 131 692 E David.Hawker.MP@aph.gov.au W www.davidhawker.com.au

Federal Member for Wannon

24 June 2009 HAWKER CALLS FOR STUDY ON EMPLOYMENT IMPACT OF CPRS

Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker, has announced that the Opposition has moved to delay the Emissions Trading (CPRS) legislation for six months while they have called for the productivity commission to do a study on the employment impact of the scheme, in an attempt to protect local jobs in industries such as aluminium smelters.

Mr Hawker today said that the combination of the Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) with the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and the Renewable Energy Targets scheme could have a devastating effect on local businesses such as Portland’s Alcoa aluminium smelter, putting its long-term future in doubt unless they are changed.

“The proposed legislation is unfairly punishing aluminium smelters like Alcoa in Portland, who employ 1,800 local people at their sites in Portland, Point Henry and Anglesea, and produce almost one third of Australia’s total aluminium production,” Mr Hawker said.

“Combined with the looming costs from the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), the Renewable Energy Target (RET) legislation is putting huge financial pressure on aluminium smelters such as Portland Alcoa, and this in turn is putting the smelter and the livelihoods of their local employees at risk.”

Estimations have been made that state that the impact on Alcoa, if the ETS legislation is passed, would initially be approximately $10 million per year.

“These costs would not be paid by producers in other countries, and large emitters such as China and India are unlikely to have their own schemes up and running for many years - leaving Australian businesses such as Alcoa at an international disadvantage.

“Under the old Mandatory Renewable Energy (MRE) Scheme Aluminium producers would have received a 90% rebate and the current claim of the Government that the industry is being provided with a 90% exemption from the RET is totally misleading as the Government is discounting the combined compensation.

“In its rush, the Government has failed to get the balance right between delivering on its renewable targets and sustaining an important Australian export industry. The Labor Government must change the basis of its proposed RET legislation otherwise it puts pressure on long-term feasibility of the Portland aluminium smelter and will be directly responsible for the loss of local jobs.”

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Media contact: Lisa Downs (03) 5572 1100