Mr Truss said while in the short term the carbon tax did not apply to farmers, it would add to the cost of everything they buy 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.”
Senator McKenzie said horticulture was important to Australia’s economy, and was worth approximately $10 billion.
“There are 60,000 people employed in horticulture, the second largest employer in agriculture.
“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.
“It was also announced the price of the widely used R404A refrigerant will increase more than 400 per cent, from $92.88 per kilo to $377.71 per kilo under the tax.
“Getting fresh fruit and vegetables to consumers requires constant temperature control, such as refrigerated transport, cool stores, even refrigeration and air conditioning in supermarkets.
Vegetable grower Luis Gazzola said the industry expected a 10 per cent increase in the costs of production.
“Everything we touch – fuel, power, gas, packaging and transport – it’s all going to go up.
“Unfortunately, because our industry is supply and demand we can’t pass the costs on.”
Senator McKenzie said it was going to be a tough road ahead for growers under the carbon tax.