Tax hits our vegie growers

VEGETABLE growers across the Lockyer Valley are facing potential impacts from the Government's carbon tax policy announced on Sunday.

Under the new policy, Australia's largest polluting companies will pay a tax on carbon of $23 a tonne from July 1 next year, with the money raised allocated to compensate affected industries including the horticultural industry.

Growcom CEO Alex Livingstone said estimates show the cost of electricity would increase under the policy which would have repercussions for all horticulture growers.

He said growers would also be likely to see increases in the cost of fertilisers and chemicals.

Mr Livingstone acknowledged that agriculture's direct emissions were excluded from the scheme so that horticulture growers would have no direct liability for on-farm emissions.

He welcomed the fact that liquid fuels used in agriculture would not be included.

“Growers will be shielded from increases in carbon price on fuels (including diesel) and will continue to receive full fuel tax credits,” he said

He said the industry would continue to lobby for direct compensation for horticulture growers since as price takers, they would have limited ability to pass on costs down the supply chain.

Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann stressed that the price on carbon would be applied to the big polluters and not individual tax payers.

“There is likely to be a trickle down effect, so the package includes assistance for nine out of ten households, in the form of tax cuts and payment increases,” he said.

“On average, local households will pay an additional $9.90 a week, but they will receive $10.10 a week in assistance.

“This assistance will be permanent and will increase, and this Government will review the adequacy of the assistance each year and increase it further if necessary.

“This is our response to the very real threat of global warming and I believe our nation and our community in particular are up to this challenge,” Mr Neumann said.

Federal Member for Wright, Scott Buchholz, said the carbon tax would drive up prices and threaten jobs while doing nothing for the environment.

“Australia's forgotten families are already struggling and the carbon tax will make a bad situation worse with a $515 a year hit on their cost of living, and that's just for starters,” he said.

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