Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey has ridiculed federal trade minister Craig Emerson’s song and dance routine about Whyalla and the carbon tax as proof the country is being governed by ‘fools’.
“Every day in parliament for the last few weeks Mr Emerson, Mr Albanese and their mates have been making jokes about Whyalla being wiped off the map and ridiculous jokes about the sky falling in on July 1st,” Mr Ramsey said.
“They may try and make jokes but not many people in Whyalla or any other regional centres around Australia, that are home to our heavy, high emission industries are laughing.
“Even Gary Gray, who is normally a pretty sensible bloke, has had a go with a You Tube production with his Mum, but I suspect the brains trust running our country at the moment put him up to that.
“The statement that Whyalla would be wiped off the map came originally from the state secretary of the AWU, Wayne Hansen who was justifiably alarmed at the impact of the tax on the steel industry.
“When in Whyalla Tony Abbott was asked to respond to the comments.
“Mr Abbott sided with the AWU and it is this response the Labor Government quotes daily.”
Mr Ramsey said the comments must have had an effect with the government subsequently announcing a “$70m life line” to the Whyalla plant.
“However they continue to refuse to answer the question as to what will happen in three years time when the grant runs out and the tax has risen to $29 tonne,” Mr Ramsey said.
“Whyalla is ideally positioned to take place in a resources boom, but all of the projects that would support growth are in the pipeline, not committed.
“The Arafura rare earth refinery, the new wharf at Port Bonython and the biggest of them all, the Roxby Downs expansion all need a positive investment environment to proceed.
“There is no doubt the carbon tax makes every one of these projects harder to deliver and less likely to happen than if we did not have a tax.
“If Mr Emerson and his mates want to be comedians they should get down to Melbourne for the Comedy Festival, but I certainly wouldn’t pay to see them and I doubt many in Whyalla would either,” he concluded.