Mine union hits out at industry

THE union which represents thousands of Central Queensland coal miners yesterday attacked industry leaders for what it called scare tactics to scupper the Federal Government's climate change legislation.

Tony Maher, president of the CFMEU's mining and energy division, accused the Australian Coal Association of blatant dishonesty for claiming the proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme would lead to job losses in the region.

He said the opposite was true.

“Employment in the mining sector is expected to grow strongly over the next decade,” he said.

He pointed out that 74 mining, energy and minerals processing projects worth $80 billion were in advanced development.

“These will create tens of thousands of jobs and the reality is that the biggest problem is skill shortages - not job losses.”

But Cynthia Carroll, chief executive of Anglo Coal, said this week that if the scheme went ahead with changes it would directly cause the closure of two major mines.

Addressing Brisbane Mining Club, she said there was no known technology capable of abating emissions from most open-cut coal mines in Australia.

“In the absence of available technology, the coal industry here will be paying a massive tax on emissions,” she said.

“And it would impact jobs as well. In Anglo American alone we risk premature closure by 10 years of two major mines and job losses of more than 2000 people - not to mention royalties of more than $1 billion lost to the Government.”

The Australian Coal Association launched its campaign, “Let's Cut Emissions Not Jobs”, with a warning that many thousands of jobs were at risk if Australia's ETS were the only one in the world that taxed mine emissions.

And Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche yesterday added his own warning that mines would close and potential growth would be stunted.

“The tragedy is that these jobs will be exported to other countries where our coal competitors face no new coal tax and are unlikely to be early movers on lowering their emissions,” he said.

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