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Fact sheet

Fact Check: Angus Taylor says the carbon tax destroyed one in eight manufacturing jobs. Is he correct?

Carbon pricing Climate change Labour market disruption Labour market Manufacturing Employment Australia

The Coalition has accused Labor of trashing the economy when last in government with its 2012 carbon tax, with the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor claiming that the policy wiped out roughly 12 per cent of Australia's manufacturing workforce.

"When the carbon tax went into place in this country, one in eight manufacturing jobs was destroyed," he said.

However, the numbers tell a different story.

When the carbon tax went into place, manufacturing employed 947,500 people. 

By the time of its repeal two years later, that number had shrunk by 32,300 (3.4 per cent), with one in 29 workers affected.

Manufacturing job losses also continued in the years after the carbon tax was scrapped, though not on the scale claimed by Mr Taylor.

By contrast, roughly one in eight (127,000) jobs were lost across roughly six years of Labor government — a period that includes nearly five years before the carbon tax was introduced.

Importantly, experts told Fact Check that these job losses could not be solely attributed to Labor or the carbon tax. 

For one thing, they said, manufacturing as a share of total employment had been falling for decades.

Moreover, the downward trend would have been exacerbated during Labor's term by both declining investment in the sector and the global financial crisis.

Verdict: Mr Taylor’s claim is wrong

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