Unnecessary punitive imposts are hurting Australia’s aluminium industry, Council says


The Australian Aluminium Council has urged the Federal Government to lift all unnecessary imposts on the country’s aluminium industry currently facing a climate of unprecedented market challenges.

Image credit: flickr User: Norsk Hydro ASA
Image credit: flickr User: Norsk Hydro ASA

“Federal Parliament will make two crucial decisions impacting Australia’s ability to compete with the rest of the world — will the carbon tax be quickly repealed, and will the burden of renewable energy subsidies be lifted?”  Miles Prosser, Executive Director of the Australian Aluminium Council, said in a media release.

Australia’s $8 billion aluminium industry has found itself overburdened by the high punitive imposts imposed by the Federal Government at a time when aluminium prices have hit rock bottom and the Australian dollar is on the rise.

The council argues that the climate of high policy costs facing Australia’s aluminium industry is restricting its ability to be more competitive on the international market despite being the world’s second largest producer of alumina and the sixth largest producer of aluminium.

“Now is the time for Parliamentarians to release the cost burden and allow Australia’s aluminium industry to compete. Australia’s refineries and smelters are fighting for survival. The Senate must quickly allow the repeal of the carbon tax or explain why their posturing and delay is worth risking decades of investment and thousands of jobs,” said Mr Prosser.

“Any delay after 1 July cuts into our competitiveness by millions of dollars a month.  At that rate, it threatens the very future of Australia’s manufacturing industry. The Senate should pass the repeal now and stop playing politics with jobs and businesses.”

Mr Prosser also pointed out the impact of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) on an industry that uses electricity to transform Australia’s bauxite reserves into aluminium for the world’s new generation of cars, planes, computers and infrastructure.

“RET costs are an even greater drag on our industry than the carbon tax.  The Government’s current review of the RET provides the opportunity to remove the subsidy all electricity users currently pay to renewable generators.  That would reduce costs not just for aluminium smelting but for all Australians,” he said.

“We have reached the crisis point. Parliament must move quickly to lift the cost burdens from what’s left of Australian manufacturing.”