Nationals Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie has called on the Greens and Labor to show their support for Australian agriculture and support the repeal of the carbon tax.
Senator McKenzie asked Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann, who was representing Environment Minister Greg Hunt in the Senate, about the effects of the carbon tax on agribusinesses today in question time.
Senator McKenzie said Labor’s carbon tax had taken a heavy toll on agricultural businesses.
‘‘For Murray Goulburn it is an annual cost of $14 million in the first year, to go up as the carbon tax increased,’’ she said.
‘‘We know that dairy farmers have seen a rise in electricity prices of $5500-$7000 a year and that one NSW irrigator saw their energy costs increase by up to $80,000.’’
Senator McKenzie said food processors like SPC Ardmona, which if it closed would impact the Goulburn Valley economy to the tune of $165 million and 2000 jobs, was similarly under pressure from the carbon tax.
‘‘ABARES modelling showed the average dairy farm would be $4580 a year better off if the carbon tax was repealed, while vegetable growers would be $4620 better off,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s time for Labor and the Greens to stop denying the Coalition Government’s mandate to repeal the carbon tax and deliver much needed financial relief for our agribusinesses which operate in a highly competitive global market.’’
‘‘Our agribusinesses compete with heavily subsidised producers in other nations which do not have the costs of a carbon tax to contend with.’’
Senator McKenzie said Labor and the Greens claimed to support regional Australia and the agriculture industry.
‘‘Now is the time to prove their support for regional Australia- regional Australians want the carbon tax gone,’’ she said.
‘‘It is impossible to claim to support agriculture and our regions and at the same time oppose the carbon tax repeal.’’
Media contact: Kathleen Tonini 0400530027