Coal industry slams carbon tax

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Thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment in coal mines and related businesses are at risk from the carbon tax, according to the Australian Coal Association.

ACA chairman John Pegler will address the Clean Energy Future parliamentary inquiry today, arguing the support package offered by the Government is not enough.

He said in a statement that allowing for compensation of $1.3 billion, the net cost of the tax would still be $16.9 billion.

He also criticised the Government’s job assistance package as being poorly designed.

“In our view the Government has underestimated the impact of the carbon tax,” he said.

“The $18 billion cost impact of the carbon tax will hit many of Australia’s mines making them uncompetitive on international markets.”

“This occurs at a time when the International Monetary Fund is warning that economic growth in our major coal export markets in Asia could be slashed by a third.”

The Government says that because most Australian coal mines do not release significant amounts of greenhouse gases they will only have small liabilities under the carbon tax.

It said the $1.3 billion Coal Sector Jobs package would provide transitional assistance to help the coal industry reduce its emissions and support jobs.

It said it will also provide funding from the Coal Mining Abatement Technology Support Package to help coal mines develop and introduce new technologies to reduce emissions.

The Government is still pushing for its $23-a-tonne fixed price on carbon to start on 1 July 2012.

It plans for a market-based emissions trading scheme to be introduced in 2015.

The aim of both moves is to cut 160 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from te atmosphere by 2012.

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