Tony Abbott, the man who would be king, continues to lie about the government’s carbon plans. For example: recently Abbott said that the first ‘victims of the carbon tax’ are workers at Hydro’s Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter in the Hunter Valley, which appears set to close.
While it is disappointing that 344 workers – and potentially many more contractors – are likely to lose their jobs, having the leader of the Opposition blame it on the carbon price is downright deception at its most venal. It is political posturing at its lowest ebb. The truth is that with or without the price on carbon, the inefficient Kurri Kurri plant would have closed in this turbulent market environment.
The smelter, built in the late 1960s, is old and highly energy inefficient. Based on data revealed in a 2007 submission Hydro (formerly Norsk Hydro) made to a Senate inquiry, the smelter consumes 16.2MWh of electricity per tonne of aluminium. This is 22 per cent more than Hydro’s newest smelter Qatalum, which consumes 13.3MWh. Because electricity is such an important cost input (30 per cent of production costs), Kurri Kurri’s poor energy efficiency meant it was always on borrowed time, contingent on a subsidised electricity contract with NSW government-owned Delta Generation that is due to expire in 2017.
These false and misleading utterances by Abbott are further indications that this man is not fit to be an MP, let alone the Opposition leader or prime minister.