Coal miners and lobby groups once again voiced their disapproval of the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) yesterday, coinciding with the launch of an advertising campaign by the Australian Coal Association (ACA) warning of possible mine closures and job losses.
The ‘Let’s Cut Emissions not Jobs’ campaign, announced by ACA executive director Ralph Hillman in Mackay yesterday, will be directed at coal-reliant communities in central Queensland.
The association said it had conducted research in regional Australia to gauge the level of community understanding about the scheme.
“This research confirms that coal mining communities have not been properly warned of the damaging consequences of the Federal Government’s CPRS in its current form,” Hillman said.
“This advertising campaign is providing people in regional Queensland with accurate information about the new carbon tax and explaining how it will affect coal mining communities and other centres heavily dependent on a strong coal industry.
“People need to understand that mines will close and thousands jobs could go as a direct result of the proposed tax.”
According to Hillman, the CPRS would cost the coal industry more than $14 billion over its first 10 years, causing the premature closure of 16 coal mines and the loss of 9000 direct and indirect jobs.
Speaking at the Brisbane Club yesterday, Anglo-American chief executive Cynthia Carroll echoed that forecast, saying it would force the closure of two Anglo mines.
She also said the scheme would be responsible for the loss of 2000 Anglo Coal jobs, $1 billion in government royalties and $118 million from the company’s own capital.
“The scheme risks having the perverse effect of undermining the objective we all share of reducing global warming and averting the threat of dangerous climate change,” she said.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche yesterday welcomed the campaign, saying it would resonate loudly throughout regional Queensland.
“As the nation’s biggest export earner is dragged down by this new tax, so is the income stream for the State Government’s funding of essential services such as education and health,” he said.
“It is a myth that these job losses would be offset by so-called green jobs.
“These jobs are gone from regional Queensland, not substituted.”
According to Hillman, the coal industry will spend one billion dollars over the next 10 years to develop technology to cut carbon emissions from coal fired power stations by up to 90%.
“Both the United States and European Union have specifically rejected taxing coal mines and both produce far higher emissions than we do,” he said.
“There is time for the government to change tack on this flawed scheme.”