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Consider the cost to farmers under carbon tax, says NFF

13 September 2011

As the carbon tax legislation is today introduced into Federal Parliament for debate, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is again calling on MPs to consider the costs the tax will impose on Australian farmers.

NFF President Jock Laurie said that suggestions in Canberra that agriculture will be a big winner out of the carbon tax are misleading, and urged MPs to consider all details of the impact of the tax on farmers.

“The Australian agricultural sector has led the way in reducing our carbon footprint for many years, with our emissions reduced by more than 40 percent in the last 20 years,” Mr Laurie said.

“We’ve been making these changes to our businesses in order to make our sector more productive and more efficient, so that we can continue to meet the growing food and fibre needs of the global population.

“But now we face a new challenge in the form of increased costs from this carbon tax – costs that will add further difficulty and complexity for farmers when we try and compete on international markets.

“While direct agricultural emissions will not be covered by the carbon tax and concessions have been provided relating to agricultural fuel, carbon mitigation R&D and extension and rewards for biodiversity projects, this doesn’t mean that farmers will not wear the costs of the tax.

“We are particularly concerned about the impact of the carbon tax on parts of the agricultural supply chain, particularly food processors, and what this will mean for our farmers.

“Food processors are facing millions of dollars in higher costs as a result of the carbon tax, particularly through increased electricity prices, and many have said that the only way they can recoup this cost is to pass it on to their suppliers – our farmers.

“It all comes down to the figures – the independent figures from the Australian Farm Institute that show that under a $23 per tonne carbon tax, farmers will be slugged anywhere from $1,000 for an average Australian sheep farm to $10,500 for an average Australian cotton farm.

“At a time when the Federal Government has introduced the National Food Plan to consider how Australian farmers will be able to continue to increase productivity and efficiency to meet the ever-growing needs of the domestic and international population, we are being slugged with a contradictory policy that will make Australian farmers less competitive.

“The equation is simple: the carbon tax will equal extra costs for Australian farmers. Our farmers are the end of the food chain, and as a result, will be footing the bill.

“Today, as the carbon tax legislation is introduced, we urge Parliamentarians to consider the cost to the nation’s invaluable food and fibre producers,” Mr Laurie said.

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