VEGETABLE growers will see the impacts the carbon tax will have on them.
The Leader of the Nationals Warren Truss and The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie toured Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market talking to vegetable growers about the carbon tax’s impacts.
Senator McKenzie said horticulture was important to Australia’s economy, and was worth about $10 billion.
“There are 60,000 people employed in horticulture, the second largest employer in agriculture,” she said.
Like agriculture, horticulture is exempt from the carbon tax, but will be affected through other costs.
“The government says agriculture will be exempt from the carbon tax, but right through the supply chain from the farm gate to dinner plate it will have an impact.
“Getting fresh fruit and vegetables to consumers requires constant temperature control, such as refrigerated transport, cool stores, even refrigeration and air conditioning in supermarkets,” she said.
Senator McKenzie said it was going to be a tough road ahead for growers under the carbon tax.
AUSVEG public affairs manager William Churchill said vegetable growers around the entire country were concerned they would need to wear the increase in costs and would have an uphill battle to change their prices to cover costs.
“One of the most common refrigerants, R134a, will increase in cost from $65.72 per kilo to $181.82 per kilo, which is a 176 per cent increase in cost,” Mr Churchill said.
Mr Truss said while in the short term the carbon tax does not apply to farmers, it would add to the cost of everything they bought and did.
“It will cost much more to produce and process Australia’s food, and farmers will have great difficulty passing those extra costs on because imported products will not be subject to a carbon tax in their country of production,” he said.