Australian tower firm blames government for 100 job losses

AUSTRALIA: Wind turbine tower manufacturer Keppel Prince has sacked 100 workers, blaming Australian government policies for a downturn in business.

Australia's Keppel Prince manufactures towers at its Victoria plant
Australia's Keppel Prince manufactures towers at its Victoria plant

The company, based in Portland, Victoria, said it will mothball most of its activities at the plant following a drop in orders. The local press has reported the company's order book stops at the end of November.

Keppel Prince said that the business was sustainable as long as there was a "favourable outcome" relating to the country's renewable energy target (RET). 

On Wednesday, federal industry minister Ian Macfarlane indicated that the Government would push ahead with plans to reduce the target for 2020 from 41 TWh to 26 TWh.

Keppel Prince general manager Steve Garner said that the cause of job losses was "purely and simply the RET and all the uncertainty about where it is heading."

But the company also said that competition from manufacturers from China and Korea has contributed to lower orders.

Keppel Prince launched a claim with the Anti-Dumping Commission last year based around allegations that Asian manufacturers have won contracts to supply towers at below-cost price.

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