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Combet sinking in cement



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Nationals Leader

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Warren Truss Media Release

Combet sinking in cement...

22 February 2012

During today‟s NPC address Greg Combet asserted that cement producers are beneficiaries under the carbon tax, getting compensation for processing clinker (the first stage of making cement).

“What Minister Comber neglected to add is that the second milling stage to make cement receives zero compensation.

“In fact, the Australian cement industry is about to cop five massive hits courtesy of the Gillard government through:

 carbon tax on direct emissions (only partially compensated);  higher electricity prices under the carbon tax (up 10% in the first year alone and rising every year);  higher fuel costs via the reduction to fuel tax credits for shipping (up 6.21 cents

per litre);  higher fuel costs via the reduction to fuel tax credits for heavy vehicle use (up almost 7 cents per litre); and  the requirement to use unionised shipping at significantly higher than current

market rates.

“None of our global competitors face any of these new cost imposts, let alone all of them.

“Australia‟s $2 billion-a-year cement industry and its 1,800 direct jobs are squarely on the carbon tax chopping block. The carbon tax takes a wrecking ball Australian cement.

“With local costs in Australia going up for cement manufacturing, importing cement becomes increasingly more attractive. It costs about the same to ship cement from China to Australia as it does to ship it from Adelaide to Port Kembla. Under the Gillard government‟s sop to the maritime union, our biggest competitors in cement - China, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand - will dramatically undercut Australian suppliers on shipping costs alone.

“Aside from water, cement is the most consumed substance on Earth, used to construct buildings, homes, ports, roads, bridges - most of the infrastructure we rely on to build communities and drive economic growth.

“In Australia the cement industry produces over 10 million tonnes of cement annually, and does so with the world‟s second lowest greenhouse gas emissions behind Japan.

When you factor in transport from Japan, using Australian cement in Australia delivers the best possible CO2 result.

“But the carbon tax will price Australia‟s cleaner cement out of the market, giving the green light to our international competitors to boost their higher CO2-emitting production and flood Australia with „dirty‟ cement.

“With our population headed towards 36 million by 2050, Australia is not going to stop construction but, under a carbon tax, the Australian cement industry will be crushed by it international competitors who will not pay a carbon tax.

“The carbon tax will put our cement producers out of business and see us import cement from countries with higher carbon footprints.”