Gladstone alumina industry to go offshore with Labor: pollie

THE biggest risk to Gladstone's aluminium industry is a Labor and Greens government according to senator Matt Canavan.

>>Gladstone's aluminium refineries could get exemption: Beers hits back

Having a beer inside the Tannum Sands Hotel last night, only 5km away from Boyne Smelters Limited which employs about 1100 people, Mr Canavan said Labor's 50% renewable energy target by 2030 would close the smelter and send the industry off shore.

The Liberal National Party senator said the only way Labor could achieve those targets would be to get the major producers to buy the more expensive renewable energy.

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QAL. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer
QAL. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer Paul Braven

Aluminium smelters such as BSL and alumina refineries like Queensland Alumina Limited and Rio Tinto Yarwun are exempt from the renewable energy targets.

The Australian Government increased the exemption to 100% in 2015 to "ease pressure on business" and "improve the competitiveness of Australian industry" the Clean Energy Regulator website reads.

"(But) If (those industries) have to come back into renewable energy, buy renewable energy, they will be out of business here and be all off shore," Mr Canavan said.

Following the redundancies, believed to be about 200 at Rio Tinto Yarwun last week, Ken O'Dowd said he hoped the job cuts stopped there.

"I don't know what the answer is," he said.

He said until the oversupply in the aluminium market created by Chinese produces, which make 50% of the world's aluminium, Australian suppliers would continue to feel the pinch of low prices.

Mr O'Dowd said other concerns raised by voters at his politics in the pub were the live cattle export trade by Calliope farmer Will Wilson and the Medicare rebate free by BITS Medical Centre's Dr Gaston Boulanger.

Dr Boulanger said he told Mr O'Dowd about his concerns about the pressures the freeze would put on medical centres and also enquired about securing finances to open up larger centres.

He said he wasn't given any concrete answers but Mr O'Dowd "listened and would follow up his concerns via email".



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