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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP



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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

8 July 2004

Townsville can't afford Labor

Federal Labor's energy policy would massively boost power prices, threatening hundreds of jobs in stage two of the Korea Zinc project and dramatically reducing the potential for other industrial expansion in Townsville, Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, warned today.

He said increased power prices under Labor's plan to buy Green preferences for the looming federal poll would also hit domestic consumers hard - with increased petrol prices as well as higher household power bills.

Dr Kemp said at least two major industry studies showed Labor's plan to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions and engage in carbon trading would lead to power price increases of up to 25% for domestic consumers, and even more for industrial customers.

And experience in New Zealand suggested petrol and diesel prices would also skyrocket under the Labor plan by up to 7 cents a litre.

The Federal Minister said the Coalition's decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol would protect Townsville workers and industry.

Dr Kemp said a report for the Electricity Supply Association of Australia predicted increases of up to 25% in retail power prices for domestic consumers, and even greater increases for industry, if the Kyoto Protocol was ratified.

A second study, by Allen Consulting, predicted increases of up to 27% - that is an increase of $224 per annum in electricity prices for Queenslanders.

Dr Kemp said Labor's energy plan was based on winning Green preferences at the looming federal election and that the ALP was prepared to sacrifice national prosperity and jobs to get them, with Gladstone workers likely to be among the worst hit.

Labor's decision to cave in to pressure from the Greens to increase the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target from 2% to 5% would make power price increases, and their impact on jobs and development, even worse, Dr Kemp said.

"This third plank in Labor's disastrous greenhouse cave-in would cost the Australian economy up to $9 billion by 2020," he said.

"All of these proposals will have negative impacts on our industries and communities and are totally unnecessary given that Australia is rapidly reducing its greenhouse intensity and will reach its internationally agreed target. 

"Continued economic growth and development of technologies that will achieve lower greenhouse gas abatement are critical in our fight against climate change. Howard government policies will mean the annual abatement of 67 million tonnes of greenhouse gases by the end of the decade.

"That is the equivalent of removing every vehicle from Australia's roads - and we have done it without imposing ridiculous imposts on industries, without sacrificing jobs and without playing havoc with electricity prices.

"Let's recognize the nature of Labor's policy. It is a lethal cocktail for higher prices and job losses - an irrational policy cobbled together to appease the noisy extremist minority who want to see the end of coal as an energy source," Dr Kemp said.

Commonwealth of Australia