The NSW Minerals Council has called for Premier Kristina Keneally to clarify her position on carbon tax, or risk 80 000 jobs.
It says the NSW Government is at odds with industry, working families in NSW, as well as the Federal Government over its position on the proposed carbon tax.
The Premier has contradicted herself this week with her comments on the issue.
“Any subsidies that come as a result of a carbon price should go only to households, not the big businesses, and not to sectors of the economy, but only to households.
“That’s how we can meet the commitment the PM has already laid out, that families should not be unduly burdened by carbon price,” she said at the weekend.
During a media conference yesterday, she reiterated her statements.
“Households, not big business, are the people who are compensated,” she said.
NSW Minerals Council CEO Nikki Williams said the conflicting statements between the Premier and the Federal Government were either unfortunate slips of the tongue, or conformation that the state government has abandoned business and the jobs
“Mining and minerals processing directly employ 80 000 people in regional NSW and support many thousands more indirectly,” she said.
“These jobs will be at huge risk without transitional arrangements for business.
“Premier Kristina Keneally must clarify her position and put at ease the minds of hard working people in communities across NSW that rely on mining, minerals processing, steel making and other associated industries.
“The Premier says that only individuals should be compensated at the introduction of a carbon tax, but compensation for households is only any good if you have a job to pay the bills.”
Williams said a transitional arrangement for business is needed under the new carbon pricing scheme, to maintain the international competitiveness of industry.
“This is the central issue for the minerals industry because Australian coal exporters compete on price in global markets.
“Anything that adds to Australia’s cost structure diminishes the competitiveness of Australian minerals products and the attraction of Australia as an investment destination.
“This will ultimately cost jobs.”
Williams said the NSW Minerals Council is responsive to the need for climate change to be addressed, but is concerned about political games affecting jobs in the state.
“We support action on climate change and a price on carbon, but we don’t support political point-scoring in an election campaign that will come at the cost of thousands of jobs across the state.”
Image: The Northern Star