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Latham to purge West Coast of mining jobs.

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Latham to purge West Coast of mining jobs Friday, December 12, 2003

Mark Latham has reaffirmed Labor’s purge of Tasmania’s West Coast mining industry and jobs with his pledge to slash the diesel fuel rebate, Senator Guy Barnett said today.

“The ALP’s tax on the mining industry would speed up job losses in this struggling but historic West Coast industry,” Senator Barnett said.

“The cutting of the diesel fuel rebate by 10 % is a ridiculous proposal by a party out of touch with the Tasmania’s West Coast.

“I challenge Labor Senators and MHRs to go West and convey this news to the families at Queenstown, Rosebery, Zeehan, Tullah, Strahan and Burnie, and tell those families to drop everything in the West, move to the cities and enrol at a university,” Senator Barnett said.

He said the claim that the industry would benefit in the long term by money saved being redirected to university places, merely condemned hundreds of families on Tasmania’s West Coast to the unemployment scrap heap.

“This is a classic case of Mark Latham’s Labor pandering to the big cities at the expense of more than 2,000 jobs in the mining and processing industry, and turning its back on the backbone of Australia’s prosperity,” he said.

Senator Barnett said mining and processing in Tasmania had sales of $1.3 billion a year, and was worth more than $500 million a year to the State economy.

“The mining and processing companies have a payroll of more than $150 million and some of this would disappear into the trendy inner suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney,” he said.