The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie has used a supermarket visit to highlight the disproportionate effect the carbon tax would have on regional industries and jobs.
“The tax will increase input costs at every aspect of the supply chain, from farm gate to dinner plate,” she said.
Senator McKenzie today met with refrigeration mechanic John Gillett, who raised concerns about the impact of the tax on the cost of refrigerant.
“Refrigerant R404A, used in most supermarket refrigeration, will increase 400 per cent,” Mr Gillett said.
“I’ve received a number of calls from businesses and many were shocked at the increased costs, they will struggle to afford it.”
Senator McKenzie said from the moment fresh fruit and vegetables are picked, refrigerant is used to keep them at a safe and constant temperature.
“From cool stores, to refrigerated trucks and supermarket air conditioning, refrigerant is crucial.
“Local trucking companies and supermarkets operate on thin margins, so an increase in refrigeration costs will make it harder to be viable.”
Senator McKenzie said the Coalition would repeal the carbon tax at the next election
“We have made it clear: the next election will be a referendum on the carbon tax.
“The Coalition is committed to addressing climate change and to reducing emissions by 5 per cent by 2020.
“This will be done through more trees, better soils and smarter technology, not by slapping a tax on regional industry.”