Chemicals have been banned in Australia under a chemical suit that will see a number of scientists go on strike next week.
Key points:The Government will seek to have the ban lifted by December 12thChemical industry groups will hold a nationwide strike on December 13thChemicals in the US and Europe have been implicated in the deadly poisoning of more than 200 peopleThe government wants to lift the ban on new chemicals but it is likely to take more than a yearChemical companies are expected to be the main drivers of a major industry strike, but other sectors, including retail and agriculture, are also expected to pick up the slack.
The Government has been seeking to lift a ban on two new drugs – diazometrazine and bromocriptine – for the next four years but has yet to be successful.
Labor is currently holding talks with its coalition partners in the Senate about whether to lift it.
In a statement, Industry Minister Mark Butler said he was confident the Government would be able to lift its ban.
“The Government’s plans to lift restrictions on new and existing chemicals are well-founded, and the legislation that will allow this to happen is the right and appropriate legislation,” Mr Butler said.
“I am confident that this Government will be able and ready to act on its commitment to the people of Australia.”
ChemicalsIndustry groups are expected on the picket lines, while many farmers and retailers will not be affected by the decision.
“Our members are on strike, so we’re not going to be able do much work, and we’re hoping for a lot of things to go smoothly,” the Australian Industry Group’s CEO, James Stewart, told ABC Radio.
“But if we don’t get a little bit of clarity on this, we’ll go on the strike line.”
Industry leaders have said they would be willing to walk away from the talks, if the Government made a good faith effort to restore the ban.
But Mr Butler’s office has said he would not take a stand on that.
“There’s no way we can back off,” he said.
Mr Butler said the Government had been “trying to get on the same page” with the pharmaceutical industry and was committed to the lifting of the ban “within the next few weeks”.
“I can guarantee you that our members and suppliers will be back at work,” he added.
The Federal Government has a number, but they are expected, to pick-up the slack, particularly with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) deciding later this week whether to investigate the issue.
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