POWER TALK: Energy Minister Angus Taylor, alongside Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd, addressed media in Gladstone.
POWER TALK: Energy Minister Angus Taylor, alongside Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd, addressed media in Gladstone. Matt Taylor GLA300119ENER

BSL plays down fears of 'wrecking ball' emissions target

BOYNE Smelters Limited has played down fears Labor's emissions-reduction target will risk the facility's future. Yesterday, for the second time in two months, a federal politician touched down in Gladstone to warn that Labor's 45 per cent emissions-reduction target would risk jobs at the 37-year-old plant.

Energy minister Angus Taylor (pictured) said Labor could not achieve the target by 2030 without shutting down smelters.

Standing beside Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd outside Gladstone Power Station to speak to media, Mr Taylor yesterday described the target as a "wrecking ball" for local industries.

The claims follow Prime Minister Scott Morrison's visit to the energy-hungry Boyne Smelters in November when he warned 1000 jobs were at risk if Labor won power at a likely May election.

But Boyne Smelters Limited general manager Joe Rea played down the potential impact.

In a statement to The Observer Mr Rea said he would continue to work with all political parties to ensure BSL had a long future.

"In our discussions on climate policy at the federal level, we expect that all parties will properly consider how to manage the treatment of emissions-intensive, trade exposed industries when aiming to reduce Australia's national emissions," Mr Rea said.

The target is almost double the current 26 per cent reduction on 2005 emission levels by 2030.

Asked if he was scaremongering, Mr Taylor said Labor could not achieve its reduction without "slugging" the Gladstone Region.

The comments follow concerns in 2015 about the Renewable Energy Target, which Boyne Smelters Limited said at the time was costing it about $25million a year.

During a review of the target, BSL was awarded an exemption, with 62 per cent of all exemptions issued for the aluminium smelting sector.

Meanwhile Mr Taylor hit back at Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's announcement last week for a $3million hydrogen innovation hub for Gladstone.

"Labor's hydrogen policy is nothing but a bandaid to hide the fact that thousands of jobs are at risk in Gladstone...," he said.

Labor's candidate for Flynn Zac Beers refuted Mr Taylor's claims and said the party was committed to Australia's aluminium industry.



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