||Issue No. 293||20 December 2005|
Waves of Destruction
Interview: Back to the Future
Unions: A Real Page Turner
Industrial: The Pin-Striped Union
International: Around The World In 365 Days
Legends: Terrific, Tommy
Your Rights At Work: Worth Fighting For
Politics: The Year That Was
Economics: Master and Servant Revisited
Culture: 2005: The Year of Living Repetitively
Bad Boss: The Bottom Ten
Religion: Hymns from a Different Song Sheet
The Locker Room
Free to Rat
Tax Cuts and Cockroaches
Proportion, Not Distortion
Trouble at the Mill
The job cuts at the Manildra Flour Mill have been sheeted home to a slow uptake of ethanol, a "biofuel" petrol substitute, under existing government policy, which targets only 1% of fuel consumption.
"All the blurbs encouraging us to use 10% ethanol have a footnote 'where available'," says Andren. "Outlets in city and country are too few and far between."
Andren asked Howard in Parliament, given the job cuts and very slow market uptake of ethanol, would the government reconsider mandating a 10% ethanol level in petrol rather than the current policy.
"Other countries do it, and with the Government's own climate report this week showing our greenhouse gas output continuing to rise steeply, there is a golden opportunity for the government to get serious about our environmental responsibilities by mandating, not just setting voluntary targets, for biofuels," says Andren.
Andren's call has been echoed by Cabonne Shire Mayor, John Farr, who is also seeking Federal Government assistance to save the jobs of one quarter of the Mill's 200-strong workforce.
"The National Union of Workers supports the Mayor's request," says NUW secretary Derrick Belan. "The job cuts at the Manildra Flour Mill can be attributed to the downturn of the ethanol market.
"The loss of these jobs is devastating for the workers involved and their families.
"Unfortunately, the Howard government has done little to promote the use of ethanol fuel blends.
"The redundancies at the Manildra Mill reach much further than the direct impact they will have on the workers. There is a broader issue of support for the use of environmentally friendly fuels sources, as well as Federal Government support for rural communities, given that the Manildra Mill sustains a rural community that has few other job opportunities.
"John Howard said he was 'sorry' about the job losses. Well 'sorry' does not put food on the table of these workers. The Prime Minister must act to help this plant and this community instead of simply expressing regret for the situation in Parliament."
Belan suggested the Federal Government look towards requiring all Commonwealth vehicles to utilise ethanol fuel mix.
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