Gillard Slams Brown on Coal Industry's Future
Source: Australian, Sid Maher (6/28/11)
"We will work with the coal industry, so it's got a future."
Prime Minister Julia Gillard repudiated Bob Brown's call for the coal industry to be replaced by renewables, saying coal has an assured future under a carbon price.
The mining industry accuses the Greens leader of inconsistency between his comments last Sunday and his attempt—on ABC's 7:30 program—to distance himself from a 2007 column in which he wrote that climate change needed to be addressed by reducing coal exports and emissions.
On the program, Senator Brown was asked whether the carbon price would close down some coal mines overnight. "I would not figure that in because they are just so highly profitable. But that has to be the outcome. You know the coal industry has to be replaced by renewables."
Gillard said she did not agree with Senator Brown, and the government would cooperate with the coal industry in transitioning to a carbon price.
"I've said we will work with the coal industry so it has got a future, and we will do that. I'm very determined to do that and to support the employment of people who work in the coal industry," she said.
Australian Coal Association Executive Director Ralph Hillman said it was regrettable that coal mining, "which is Australia's largest export industry, employing thousands of people and supporting thousands more Australian families, is regarded by Senator Brown as dispensable."
Minerals Council of Australia CEO Mitch Hooke said Senator Brown was contradicting his own assurances.
"Just over a month ago, Senator Brown denied he was seeking to shut down the coal industry, instead blaming a Murdoch press conspiracy for misrepresenting his position," Hooke said. "But on 'Insiders' Sunday, Brown confirmed his party's ultimate goal was to close down Australia's coal sector."