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CFMEU coal strike is futile and irresponsible.

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Media Release

Statement by

Senator Nick Minchin

Minister for Industry, Science and Resources


14 December 1998



CFMEU coal strike is futile and irresponsible


Federal Industry, Science and Resources Minister Senator Nick Minchin today described the 48-hour coal strike called by the CFMEU as futile and irresponsible.


"At a time when the world coal industry is facing difficulties, the last thing the Australian industry needs is union activity that could damage our reputation as a reliable coal supplier," Senator Minchin said.


"The union's action undermines the efforts of Australian companies to secure the best possible prices in the face of strong international competition," Senator Minchin said.


At a time when our international competitors are reducing their cost structures and improving productivity, the idea of constraining efficient new Australian production, as suggested by the CFMEU, will only lead to these international competitors taking our market share.


"I have met with the CFMEU and listened carefully to their proposal for a government, union and industry forum. It is, however, the Government's view that action, not discussion, will help ensure the Australian coal industry competes in a tough and changing world coal market. 


"The best way to protect coal industry jobs is to ensure that Australia has a viable industry able to compete in a highly competitive environment. The Government is assisting in the best way possible through reforms to the industrial relations and tax systems.


"By calling this strike the union has made it clear it has no regard for Australia's reputation as a reliable, cost effective supplier of coal. Surely the CFMEU must realise that the biggest losers from this strike will be its own members," Senator Minchin said.


For further information contact:

Kate Schulze, (Senator Minchin's Office), 02-6273-5253   0419-432-664