PM won’t risk resources jobs over climate change
PRIME Minister Scott Morrison is resisting pressure to adapt to a post-fossil fuel world, declaring his government will have a balanced policy which doesn't put resources jobs at risk.
It comes as the sharemarket powers to new highs, partly on the back of the big iron ore miners, and the Morrison Government comes under renewed attacks from within the Liberal Party over its climate change policies.
On Sunday, NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said right-leaning cabinet ministers - as well as Liberal moderates - were concerned about the current suite of climate policies.
But on Monday Mr Morrison said no cabinet ministers had approached him and labelled the NSW Minister's comments a "beat up."
"I don't know what he's talking about," he told the Nine Network. "I think Matt can focus on hazard reduction and I will focus on emissions reduction. It's all a beat up."
On the Today program Mr Morrison continued to defend his Government's climate stance, saying he would never take up environmental policies which would cost resource sector jobs.
"I won't put up a carbon tax. I won't put up people's electricity prices and I will not wipe out a resources sector which millions of Australians depend on, particularly regional Australians," Mr Morrison said.
"We will stay with a balanced policy that understands the economic interests and environmental interests.
"We know the summers are longer, hotter, dryer. We are addressing them. We acknowledge the link between these things and will have a balanced policy which doesn't put people out of their jobs."
Mr Kean said Australia was well-placed to adapt to a post-fossil fuel world and would need to do so to ensure future economic prosperity.
"The reality is that the majority of the world market we currently ship our coal to are starting to decarbonise and they're looking for newer, cheaper products to power their economies," Mr Kean said.
Australian shares have powered to new highs for a fifth consecutive day.
Big mining stocks jumped, BHP adding 71 cents, or 1.75 per cent, to $41.31 at noon on Monday, while Rio Tinto added $1.51 cents to $106.75.
Senior economist with the AEC Group Jonathan Pavetto told the Bulletin last week that the coal industry was essential to the future of North Queensland, providing billions of dollars in earnings and thousands of jobs.
While Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Christian Slattery said the emissions from Australia's coal and gas exports were "turbocharging" climate change, Townsville Federal MP Phil Thompson said the Government would not turn its back on the coal industry.
"The people in Herbert aren't ringing my office every day talking about climate, they want to know how we will stimulate the economy, they want to know how we are going to reduce the high crime, and cost of living pressures in their power bills," Mr Thompson said.