30/05/2012 - 15:23

PM criticises Minerals Council consultant

30/05/2012 - 15:23

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Prime Minister Julia Gillard has dismissed a Minerals Council of Australia report suggesting BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam expansion project in South Australia is in doubt.

During question time today, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott called on Ms Gillard to apologise to South Australians for jeopardising the company's uranium and copper mine expansion by implementing a carbon tax.

But Ms Gillard rejected his call, saying the report was unsurprising because one of its authors was the pre-selected Liberal candidate for the seat of Hume, Angus Taylor.

"He is talking it down," she told the house.

"We want this Olympic Dam project to go ahead ... we won't be swayed by reckless negativity."

Ms Gillard also said Mr Taylor was "a very vocal and proud supporter of Work Choices", the opposition industrial relations policy dumped after the last federal election.

A report released on Wednesday at the Minerals Council of Australia seminar in Canberra, prepared by consultants Port Jackson Partners, said Australia had lost market share in the mining industry in the past decade.

The decline was due to a lack of competitiveness driven by high labour, energy and transport costs.

Mr Taylor is a director of Port Jackson Partners.

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