Canberra’s carbon tax will cripple the household budgets of dairy farming families, and give overseas competitors an unfair advantage over Victoria’s major exporter of foodstuffs.
Bridget McKenzie, the Nationals Senator for Victoria, said this after touring Murray Goulburn’s Global Distribution Centre at Port Melbourne with the Nationals’ leader, Warren Truss.
“The carbon tax will cost the average dairy farm between $5,000 and $7.000 each year,” Senator McKenzie said.
“It will seriously hamper the ability of the nation’s dairy industry to maintain and expand an export industry now worth $2 billion to Australia.
“This super tax will be on Murray Goulburn’s 2,700 farming family shareholders through higher energy and transport costs, and on milk processing and manufacture of dairy products.”
Senator McKenzie said the Australian-owned Murray Goulburn processes one third of the nation’s milk, directly employs more than 2,000 workers, operates six processing plants in regional Victoria, and is our biggest exporter of milk and processed dairy products.
Two of the processing plants – Leongatha and Maffra, are in the South east, with other operations in Melbourne and Tasmania.
“Why would any National Government want to impose another taxation burden on such an enterprise, and the farming families who supply the milk,” Senator McKenzie asked?
During the tour of the Port Melbourne facility, MG’s General Manager for Industry and Government Affairs. Mr Robert Poole explained that the proposed carbon tax will impact on the Cooperatives’ operations from the farm gate through the transport, storage and manufacturing processes.
Nationals Leader Warren Truss observed that as an export-oriented industry, MG will have to compete on the global stage against dairy product manufacturers virtually untouched by anything on the scale of Australia’s carbon tax.
He observed that he European dairy industry is given free carbon permits, and is so encouraged to expand and exempted from the carbon tax regime in those countries.
“At the end of the day, this is just another tax on small business,” Senator McKenzie said.