(EnergyAsia, July 11 2011, Monday) — Predictably, the Australian Coal Association (ACA) has slammed the government’s proposed carbon pricing scheme as a tax that will hurt the economy, cost jobs, and reduce the competitiveness of the coal industry and giving an advantage to miners in other countries.

Ralph Hillman, the association’s executive director, said the carbon tax would cost thousands of jobs in regional communities as its impact is felt on ordinary Australians.

“The government has appeased some industries for political expediency but has ignored the concerns of Australia’s biggest export industry and all of the small business people and employees who depend on it for their survival.

“Coal earns for Australia A$50 billion each year and the economic effects of the Gillard government’s carbon tax package will be felt across the economy costing the coal industry alone A$18 billion. (US$1=A$0.94).

“We have seen the government talk about a lot of things today and present many figures and justifications for this tax to convince Australians that they will be better off with a carbon tax.

“Australians will be worse off. “In plain language, 140,000 Australians are employed either directly or indirectly in the black coal industry and we will see ordinary people from Blackwater to Moranbah in Queensland right through to the Hunter and the Illawarra in New South Wales lose their jobs because of this tax.

“We know from our own commissioned independent modelling that 4,700 coal miners will lose their jobs and mines closures will mean many more jobs in supporting industries in regional communities will be lost.

“We’ve also seen today the introduction of a new fuel tax on the mining industry.

“The government faced a A$4 billion black hole in carbon tax revenue and so has imposed a permanent tax in the form of adjusting the fuel excise levy. This amounts to a new tax to the mining sector – it is a 16% increase in fuel tax.

“This comes on top of the carbon tax package and the upcoming Minerals Resources Rent Tax. We will continue to argue that this is bad economic policy and, while we as an industry support a price on carbon, we do not support the package that was announced today which will limit growth in the coal industry at a time of unprecedented prosperity, put 4,700 miners out of work and do nothing to reduce global emissions.”