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Carbon tax 'no link' to aluminium smelter closure: union
25/05/2012 - The closure of a NSW aluminium smelter can't be linked to the carbon tax, a union boss says.
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Australian Workers' Union (AWU) National Secretary Paul Howes on Thursday dismissed claims by the federal opposition that the loss of hundreds of jobs at the Norsk Hydro plant in the Hunter Valley was linked to the tax.
Instead, the action of successive state governments and the high Aussie dollar were to blame, he said.
Howes said the carbon tax wouldn't come into effect until July, but Australia's aluminium sector had been suffering since 2008.
"(The carbon tax) is a blip in the night compared to a 50 per cent appreciation in the value of the Australian dollar and a 30 per cent depreciation in the pricing of aluminium on the global market," he told reporters in Sydney.
Howes blamed Premier Barry O'Farrell for asking the company to pay too much for electricity.
"Two months ago, Barry O'Farrell presented to Norsk Hydro an electricity pricing contract which he knew would lead to the shutdown of Hydro Kurri Kurri," he said.
Howes said he would to call on the federal government to intervene on behalf of the aluminium sector at the Prime Minister's Taskforce on Manufacturing in Canberra on Friday.
The union says some 340 employees and 150 contractors will lose their jobs when the Norwegian company shuts down its Kurri Kurri plant, east of Newcastle.
Other plants around the country could follow, with implications for the nation's bauxite mines, Howes said.
In January, Norsk Hydro made 150 redundancies at the smelter after cutting back production.
A subsequent review of the plant revealed it would not be profitable in the short term.
Norsk also blamed increasing energy costs and the carbon tax.
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alan | 25/05/2012 10:18 1
Oh Paulie And there are pixies at the bottom of the garden
Mr T | 25/05/2012 11:10 2
Yeah of course - the carbon (dioxide) tax will actually make electricity cheaper, won't it Mr Howes??? Just how stupid does the Union Labor Party think we are???
dave d | 25/05/2012 15:42 3
Every time Ju-liars mob open their mouths on this carbon Tax they just look more stupid -what a ridiculous statement by Howes - will say anything but the truth just to suck up to Ju-liar
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