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Labor would cost jobs in west.



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Kerry Bartlett MP The Federal Member for Macquarie

4/186 Macquarie Road, PO Box 376 Springwood NSW 2777 Ph: 4751 7494 Fax: 4751 7495 www.kerrybartlett.com kerry.bartlett.mp@aph.gov.au

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Labor Would Cost Jobs in West

A Labor Government with Peter Garrett as Environment Minister would put hundreds of jobs in the local coal industry at risk and stall economic growth in the region.

Federal Member for Macquarie, Kerry Bartlett, this week invited Federal Industry and Resources Minister, Ian Macfarlane, to the district to discuss his serious concerns about Labor's plans for coal.

Mr Bartlett said the tightening Labor-Greens alliance threatens the region's coal industry.

"With several coal mines and two coal-fired power stations around Lithgow, the industry plays an integral role in this region's economic and employment security," Mr Bartlett said.

"More than 800 people are employed by the mines alone and not one of those jobs is guaranteed under the anti-coal approach of Peter Garrett and Labor."

Minister Macfarlane said Labor's environment spokesperson made it very clear that Labor considered the expansion of the industry a thing of the past.

"Labor doesn't understand that Australia relies on fossil fuels for 80% of its energy needs and this won't change in the near future.

"The answer to lowering our emissions isn't to wipe out the industry and the jobs that go with it but to invest in low-emission coal technology. That's what this government is doing - to the tune of more than $400 million.

Mr Macfarlane said Labor's promise to abolish Australian Workplace Agreements will also hit the Macquarie resources sector hard.

"Around 50% of Australian miners are on AWAs. Wages in the industry are 50 per cent higher than the all industry average, in large part because flexibility equals productivity.”

"In 1995, almost 8,000 working days were lost to industrial action per 1,000 employees in Australia's mining sector. In the last 12 months, only 115 days have been lost,” said Mr Macfarlane.

"Labor's determination to return the mining industry to the bad old days of union bullying, industrial strife and low productivity would be devastating."

Mr Bartlett said he would fight tooth and nail to protect the future of Macquarie miners, power industry workers and their families.

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Enquiries: 4751 7494 30 August 2007