Sunday, April 17, 2011
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s plans to implement a carbon tax in Australia have hit a roadblock today with the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union Paul Howes demanding that exemptions be made to certain heavy polluting industries including steel production as well as concerns about whether jobs will be lost.
Steel producing companies within Australia including BlueScope Steel and OneSteel have supported the move by the union claiming that a carbon tax would affect Australian Jobs. Paul O’Malley, managing director and Chief Executive of BlueScope, said that “the tax threat is still real for the Australian Steel industry and for our customers.”
Paul Howes told The Australian newspaper that “if one job is gone, our support is gone.” Mr. Howes is a powerful figure within the Australian Labor Party who is believed to have been instrumental with the removal of PM Gillard’s predecessor Kevin Rudd. Support for the Gillard Labor Government has dropped to an all time low earlier this year, with only a 30% approval rating.
The move by the AWU has been supported by other unions in Australia, including the Transport Workers Union as well as Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.