Nats’ uncosted coal plan flies in face of Budget
Senior federal ministers have not endorsed the Nationals' plan to use more coal-fired power to help create manufacturing jobs.
The party yesterday released a 20-page document aiming for an "ambitious target" of 800,000 manufacturing jobs in 15 years.
It included building more coal and gas-fired power stations to lower energy costs, setting up and Office of Regional Manufacturing in Gladstone and Newcastle, tax incentives, as well as taking more action on trade.
It is despite the Coalition launching its own $1.5 billion manufacturing plan to create 300,000 jobs over 10 years in the October budget just over three months ago.
The Nationals have admitted there was no modelling done on how to reach the 800,000 job target, saying it was a goal based on reaching 10 per cent of Australians employed in manufacturing.
Manufacturing Minister Karen Andrews said it took more than just reducing energy costs to keep the industry resilient and competitive.
"We must also play to our strengths, innovate and ensure science and technology are working for industry," she said.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor said there needed to be a balance of energy sources and coal remained an important part of the mix, and would continue to be for years to come.
Queensland LNP senator Matt Canavan, who sits with the Nationals, said he had spoken to both ministers before releasing the proposal, but that he wasn't expecting them to sign off on it.
"We hope it kicks off a discussion, challenges some ideas and promotes the need to support industries and a return to policies that protect Australian jobs," he said.
"There's not a lack of money (for manufacturing) it's a lack of energy competitiveness, while some countries, especially China, have been disregarding trade laws."
The plan calls for taking countries accused of dumping, exporting a product at a price cheaper than what it's sold for locally, to the World Trade Organisation, but also imposing tariffs on them.
Ms Andrews said the Coalition Government supported an independent anti-dumping system, while remaining consistent with international obligations.
Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watt said 90,000 manufacturing had been lost while the Nationals had been in government.
"The Nationals say one thing and do another," he said.
"Does Scott Morrison back this plan, or is it just another hoax from the fake news Nationals?"
Prime Minister Scott Morrison would not commit to further support to the proposed Collinsville coal-fired power station when he was in Queensland last week.
The last coal-fired power station built in Queensland, Kogan Creek, took seven years to go from approval by the then Howard Government in 2000 to 2007 when it was commissioned.
Originally published as Nats' uncosted coal plan flies in face of Budget