The Australian Government must examine its carbon emissions trading scheme in the face of recent major job losses in the mining sector, Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Mitch Hooke told MINING DAILY.
“The Government has got to have a much sharper and more acute focus on policy decisions that are going to impact jobs, and top billing would be the emissions trading scheme,” he said.
“Anything that goes to the fundamental issue of competitiveness and confidence is going to be a really big impact on the jobs.”
According to Hooke, there is little point in the Government going ahead with a scheme that will cost billion of dollars and risk so many jobs at a time of such uncertainty, especially if they are to go ahead alone.
“An emissions trading scheme that is going to hit the industry with a bill of billions of dollars is going to go right to the bottom line of our companies because they don’t have the technologies to adjust and will go to the bottom line of jobs and job losses,” he said.
“All in the faint hope that the rest of the globe is going to come to a conclusion on what a global solution to climate change looks like.
“It doesn’t mean we should not act, it just means that we should act in concert to the rest of the globe.”
Despite the spate of job losses and declining commodities prices, Hooke does not see the end of the mining industry anywhere on the horizon.
“The under-lying fundamentals are still there,” he said.
“We’ve still got industrialisation and urbanisation moving apace and China is still growing at a considerable pace, notwithstanding its slow down.”
Hooke points to the fact that the majority of jobs recently axed have been contractors rather than full-time employees.
The expertise of permanent employees will be needed in the industry’s future, he said.
“The dilemma the industry now faces is how to maintain a core of skilled employees for when demand does kick back up and when there is recovery.”