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Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Page: 7593

Carbon Pricing

Mr RAMSEY (Grey) (15:14): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the statement by Nyrstar, operators of the Port Pirie and Hobart lead and zinc smelters, which between them employ 1,340 workers, that:

If our competitors in Asia do not have to face a carbon price in the same way we do, it will be the cause of an exit for our Australian operations.

Will the Prime Minister guarantee that Nyrstar will not be driven from Australia by the government's carbon policy?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:15): I thank the member for his question, now that the Liberal Party cheering for Work Choices has died down. On the question that the member has asked me, I understand that he would be concerned and community members would be concerned about the full details of carbon pricing. Those full details will be available on Sunday. But what I can definitely say to the member is: we understand and every day that we have worked on carbon pricing we have understood that we need to take steps to protect Australian jobs. We have brought to that task our track record of valuing work, our track record of creating more than 700,000 jobs in this country since the government was first elected, and we are looking forward to the creation of half a million more, which is why in putting this package together we have at every stage had uppermost in our minds the need to work with Australian businesses and industries to protect Australian jobs. That is why the door has been open through the business roundtable and we have had consultation through that roundtable. Of course, all of the details will be available on Sunday and I anticipate at that point Australian businesses will publish their views and that is appropriate. The member can consider the full package then. I can say to the member: we value employment. Our track record as a government shows that we value employment and we have put this package together valuing employment and the protection of Australian jobs.