AS Portland manufacturer Keppel Prince grapples to retain jobs for wind industry construction, local MP Denis Napthine has called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to stop the import of components.
He cited the decision by renewable energy company REpower to import 64 towers for a wind farm at Mount Mercer near Ballarat and plans by another company to import 70 into NSW.
“It’s about time the Prime Minister lived up to the promise she made on Sunday in her jobs package and delivered local jobs to Keppel Prince in Portland,” the member for South West Coast told State Parliament. “One step the Prime Minister could take immediately to assist Keppel Prince and other Australian manufacturers is to abolish the job-killing carbon tax which is driving up the price of electricity and making local businesses less competitive against imported products.”
He said the federal government had promised wind energy industries would deliver local employment, but it was now clear those jobs were instead going to South Korea.
Keppel Prince Engin-eering plans to lodge a claim with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service alleging companies from South Korea, China and Vietnam are dumping wind towers in Australia at up to 40 per cent less than production price.
It is being lodged along with BlueScope Steel and Heywards Engineering of Tasmania.
Keppel Prince fears work for its 100 employees involved in wind tower manufacturing will dry up in April when contract work runs out.
The federal government’s new job package announced at the weekend requires large projects to have an Australian industry participation plan.