Prime Minister Julia Gillard has sought to assure workers and employers her mooted carbon tax will not damage jobs or exports.
New South Wales coal miners have been most concerned about the government`s plan to charge $23 per tonne on emissions, and yesterday Gillard travelled to Newcastle to address the concerns.
She told workers they could be sure they would have a job for decades to come in the coal mining industry, and even said their sons could confidently follow in their footsteps.
Despite the fears that the tax will close multiple coal mines in New South Wales within three years, the government remains committed to introducing the tax and says it will not damage the sector.
Gillard told workers at Centennial Coal’s Mandalong mine, in the Hunter Valley, they should ignore scaremongering and said coal companies were making $1 million profit for every worker they employed.
She said with the coal price currently at $300 a tonne, the carbon tax would cost them $2 a tonne.
“There’s a great future in coalmining,” Gillard said.
“(Miners) can be secure in the knowledge that they’ve got a future working . . . this mine. If their sons want to follow them to this industry, then they will have a future in coalmining too.”
25 year mine life for Mandalong
The Mandalong mine has an expected further mine life of 25 years, and Gillard told workers they could be confident they would still be working there until that time.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has also promised that Queensland coal mines will be compensated for losses caused by a carbon tax, saying pollution intensive areas like Gladstone will receive significant compensation.