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Farmers now look to mitigate the carbon tax negatives

8 November 2011

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has expressed its disappointment at the passage of the carbon tax legislation through the Senate today.

“Ultimately, the carbon tax risks compromising the competitiveness of our agricultural industry,” NFF President Jock Laurie said.

“We have fought against the introduction of this tax, as we know that it is going to add extra costs into our farm businesses. The figures speak for themselves – we know farmers are going to shoulder the burden of additional input costs, in some cases up to $10,000 per annum, and we still have real concerns about processing sector costs being passed back to farmers.

“Our domestic agricultural industry competes on an international playing field – one that is no longer even when it comes to carbon. Overwhelmingly countries across the world are developing climate policies that recognise the importance of agriculture and prevent additional costs being added into their farmers’ businesses.

“Today’s decision means that in Australia the indirect costs of the carbon tax will be borne by our farmers – farmers that have spent decades becoming as efficient as possible in order to stay competitive globally,” Mr Laurie said.

“The NFF has worked tirelessly to ensure that farmers got the best deal possible out of any scheme to price carbon. In short we aimed to remove costs associated with a price on carbon and to create opportunities for the farm sector to participate in any future market.

“To this end we recognise, and have acknowledged, that the carbon tax that has passed today has moved considerably from what was first proposed in terms of benefits for agriculture. The Government has responded to our calls, removing agriculture’s direct emissions, agricultural and heavy vehicle fuel for a two year period and developing carbon mitigation options.

“But our work is not done. We have lobbied, and will continue to lobby, on the permanent removal of agricultural and heavy vehicle fuel from the carbon tax as the deadline for fuel’s inclusion approaches. And we will continue to work to ensure the Government understands the costs that such a tax has imposed on our farm businesses

“What we now have to do is make the best out of the situation that is confronting Australian farmers, which means doing everything we can to minimise the risks and maximise the opportunities that surround the regulated carbon market.

“We have already shown our support for the Carbon Farming Initiative and the funds assigned to research, development and extension – both of which have the potential to benefit the sector.

“We will also help our members take full advantage of the opportunities available to ensure the significant efforts our farmers have already made in reducing the sector’s carbon footprint are acknowledged and our reputation as of one of the world’s most efficient food and fibre producers is secured,” Mr Laurie said.

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