Ministerial briefings prepared for the South Australian Labor Government have confirmed that Federal Labor’s carbon tax risks investment, jobs and population in Port Pirie.
The briefings, released to the State Liberal Opposition under freedom of information laws, confirm the future of Nyrstar’s lead smelter at Port Pirie has been placed at direct risk due to the $6 million carbon tax bill they now face.
This is exactly the type of scenario where the carbon tax poses the greatest threat: a global company faced with making significant investment decisions who now find the cost of doing business in Australia that much more expensive.
The SA Labor Government’s briefings make clear that “Nyrstar is faced with the need to make a major investment decision” and that the carbon tax is potentially “more immediately impactful on Nyrstar’s assessment of Port Pirie’s continuing operations.”
Without upgrades likely to cost hundreds of millions of dollars Nyrstar might “run the plant down” instead, ultimately leading to its closure.
These SA Labor briefings make it clear the consequences of closure would be devastating for Port Pirie, with the town’s population at risk as well as jobs:
“Should the smelter cease or seriously curtail its operations, that will have a profound social and economic impact on the city of Port Pirie and the region … A 30 per cent reduction in the town’s population is a realistic possibility.”
It’s time for Julia Gillard to finally admit what her State Labor colleagues already know, that her carbon tax makes Australia a less competitive and less attractive place to invest, which threatens jobs and the future of towns and cities such as Port Pirie.
The carbon tax is simply a tax on jobs, investment and the cost of living.