Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said this is a devastating day for the community of Kandos and for the 100 families that rely on this plant for a living.
“For nearly 100 years the Kandos cement plant has been the lifeblood of the local community – it has employed generations of locals and sustained a viable and vibrant economy,” he said.
“The fear is now that Julia Gillard’s carbon tax has not just proven to be the nail in the coffin of the plant, but the town of Kandos itself.
Mr Coulton said that while there were a number of factors that have contributed to the closure, none were more significant than the economic threat provided by the looming carbon tax.
“The 98 employees of the cement plant are the first victims of Julia Gillard’s carbon tax. These people are third and fourth generation workers in this plant. There is no comfort for these people as they will now lose their jobs and the entire community of Kandos loses the reason for why it exists,” he said.
“Not only has Julia Gillard forced the closure of this plant, she has also threatened the closure of an entire town.
“There is no denying that cement manufacture is a high energy use and a high emitting industry. However, the irony here is that we have a situation where as a result of the carbon tax Australian industry will be forced to import cement from countries with far less stringent environmental controls that create far higher levels of carbon emissions during production.
"The people of Kandos have every right to feel betrayed by the Prime Minister. She must now explain to them why she has helped shut the plant that has sustained their community for generations."
The Kandos cement plant was established in 1914 and has been the backbone of the Kandos community and a major employer. The plant produces 450,000 tonnes of cement each year.
“This is a prime example of the carbon tax moving our jobs offshore and making our industry uncompetitive,” Mr Coulton said.
“It is not like Australia is going to be using any less cement; it is not like we are not going to stop building roads, buildings or the thousands of other things that we use cement for.
“What it means is that we have exported the jobs from Kandos to a country somewhere else that does not have restrictive legislation and higher charges.”