National Party Rejects Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme

Nationals’ opposition to CPRS stands in the way of new jobs and climate stability in regional Australia

The National Party is voting against the creation of thousands of new jobs for regional Australia in its decision to vote down the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

“It reveals a complete lack of understanding about the investment, industries and jobs that will flow from putting this vital piece of legislation in place,” said ACTU President Sharan Burrow.

Regional Australia will be the major beneficiary of a raft of new public and private initiatives.

Two hundred renewable energy projects generating at least 26,000 jobs are already in the pipeline, according to the latest research by energy sector consultants McLennan Magasanik Associates.

This includes solar projects in Mildura, Broken Hill and remote Queensland, geo-thermal trials in South Australia and wind turbine installations across a number of states.

“The CPRS is a critical piece of machinery that will ensure business confidence, drive research and direct millions of dollars of new investment into these projects and jobs, as Australia makes the transition to a low carbon economy,” said Ms Burrow.

“The figures show a potential national investment worth $32 billion. The Nationals’ unsubstantiated claim that the CPRS will destroy jobs flies in the face of reality.

“In Queensland alone, the report released last week by the Minerals Council of Australia shows that jobs will grow in the resources sector by 120% over the next 20 years. Gas will be a big jobs base for Queensland.

“The CPRS will also provide the means to retain and grow jobs in traditional industries, such as steel and aluminum, that are providing products for clean technologies.”

Ms Burrow said the Nationals’ obstinate and ill-informed opposition to the CPRS not only holds up job creation and Australian investment in renewable energy but fails to take responsibility for international leadership for a strong agreement in our own interest at Copenhagen later this year.

“The devastating impact of climate change is illustrated by the increasingly erratic weather patterns affecting large parts of rural and regional Australia in recent times.

“If Australia is prevented by the Coalition parties by acting quickly and constructively to combat climate change, the cost of their inaction and delay will come down hard on Australia’s farming community, as the environment deteriorates further.

“Seventy-seven per cent of Australians say the Coalition should pass the CPRS. It is time for the Nationals to listen.”