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July 18, 2011

There is still no guarantee for local workers that their jobs are safe despite visits from the Prime Minister and three members of the Labor Cabinet to the Latrobe Valley to promote the carbon tax, according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.

The Federal MP says the Gillard Government has also failed to undertake a social and economic study on the impacts of the proposed carbon tax in areas like Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley.

“If the Prime Minister or senior Ministers like Greg Combet, Simon Crean and Martin Ferguson can’t guarantee local jobs under Labor’s carbon tax, why would they expect me to vote for it in Parliament?” Mr Chester said.

“They can make all the promises they like about jobs which might be created in the future but I will fight for the jobs that local people already have in the power industry, manufacturing, small business and agriculture.

“If the government can afford to waste $12 million on its climate change advertising propaganda campaign to promote its tax, why won’t they pay for a study to highlight the full costs and alleged benefits of the scheme? What is the Labor Party trying to hide from families in the Latrobe Valley?”

Mr Chester said he was also disappointed that Labor Ministers were turning their backs on the Party’s traditional supporters in blue collar industries.

“The Labor Party used to stand up for workers – now it just does what it’s told by the Greens and inner city MPs who have no understanding about the realities of life in regional areas,” Mr Chester said.

“The Prime Minister talks a lot about household support and structural adjustment packages but people who talk to me want to keep their jobs and remain in our community.

“I’m not surprised that 76 per cent of Gippslanders who responded to my recent survey said they didn’t want a carbon tax to be introduced.

“The government claims that only Australia’s ‘500 biggest polluters’ will pay the carbon tax but there’s no doubt that those costs will be passed on to families through increased prices for electricity, gas, water and grocery items.”

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