(EnergyAsia, October 6 2011, Thursday) — The Australian Coal Association (ACA) has repeated its call for the Federal Government to withdraw the carbon tax legislation following the release of the latest world economic update by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

With the proposed carbon tax due to be implemented next July, ACA chairman John Pegler said the IMF has predicted a very risky period ahead for the world economy and warned the world faced the very real possibility of a global recession.

The ACA said the new tax would impose a total cost of A$18 billion on Australian coal mines within the first nine years to 2021, giving competitors in other countries an unfair advantage. (US$1=A$1.05).

Mr Pegler said: “This is the worst possible time for Australia to be introducing a carbon tax – with Australia’s economic growth predictions slashed from 3% to 1.8% by the IMF.

“The IMF also stated clearly that the risks for the world economy are all on the downside, meaning these figures could get a lot worse very quickly.

“Right at the time the world economy is getting weaker and potentially heading into recession the Australian coal industry is being asked to carry an A$18 billion increase in our costs because of the carbon tax.

“Coal mining has been one of the real strengths of the Australian economy, widely credited with helping us avoid a recession in the first global financial crisis.

“Now is not the time to be increasing the cost base for Australian coal mining and putting thousands of jobs in regional Australia at risk.

“The Federal Government should withdraw the poorly designed carbon tax proposal before it is too late.”

As Australia’s largest export earner, coal sales brought in A$55 billion in 2008-09 and employs around 137,000 people in the country.