The future of Australian Agriculture
Posted in Media on Thursday, 12 July, 2012
“The next election is going to be absolutely crucial for the entire agricultural sector and the millions of Australians across regional Australia who rely on it,” Federal Member for Mallee, John Forrest said today.
“Australian agriculture is now being hit by flow-on impacts from the carbon tax through increased power prices and other input costs, especially fertiliser, crop dusting, rail freight and cool room refrigeration.
“There will be further pressure as the tax hits cost structures in the processing sector, especially through higher electricity and gas costs and the bigger processors in dairy and meat processing will also pay the carbon tax itself,” said Mr Forrest.
“Horticulture will suffer badly with increased costs to run the cool room.”
“Labor has committed to applying the carbon tax to on-road transport from July 2014, immediately making all transport much dearer.
“The 6 cents a litre tax, on top of existing impacts from carbon pricing, will be the last straw for thousands of farm businesses, farm families, and their regional communities.
“A carbon tax on heavy road transport inside a year of the election will just about end the competitiveness of Australian agriculture, domestically and internationally, across the board of food and fibre,” said Mr Forrest.
“Dairy and red meat will be among the hardest hit because of their huge reliance on energy and road transport, creating a big advantage in global markets for key competitors like New Zealand and the EU.
“Vegetables from China will be even more competitive on Australian domestic markets because they do not have such a tax.
“Australia’s carbon price is $23 a tonne and indexed to keep going up, while the price in Europe is now under $10 and is effectively under $3 in New Zealand, with no prospect of any real upward movement.
“No other major agricultural power has such an anti-farm carbon pricing regime as severe as this and the threat it poses is being vastly underestimated,” Mr Forrest said.
Mr Forrest can be contacted on 0428 500 186.