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Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Page: 223

Carbon Pricing


Mr VAN MANEN (Forde) (14:39): My question is to the Minister for Agriculture. I refer the minister to this email from Thiess Australia stating that the carbon tax is costing this food processing business $5.5 million a year in higher electricity prices, higher gas prices and direct emissions charges. How does the government plan to reduce the costs for the Australian food industry?


Mr JOYCE (New EnglandMinister for Agriculture and Deputy Leader of The Nationals) (14:40): I thank the member for Forde for this question, because Beenleigh abattoir is in his district. Beenleigh abattoir can process up to 1,400 head per day and has in excess of 800 people—working men and women—who support the local economy. Beenleigh abattoir is part of a group which employs in excess of 2,000 men and women of this nation and has to pay tax—apparently, the omnipotent bodies on the opposite side can single-handedly change the temperature of the globe!—and this is costing them in excess of $920,000 a year. If the Labor Party can charge us to change the temperature of the globe then I want them to make it rain. That would seem fair enough.

This is what we have to do. It is not just the direct costs; it is the fact that electricity prices are going up and that gas prices are going up, but part of his question is very important: what are we going to do about it? We are going to scrap the tax. We are going to get rid of the tax. We do not deny that the government has changed. We believe that the government has changed and that, therefore, the process must change. When the Australian people asked for a change in government on the mandate that we scrap the tax, you were supposed to respect the result, but of course, you did not. So we are still dealing with the anomaly that they believe that $920,000 is what you have to pay for the privilege of employing in excess of 2,000 Australian men and women.

Maybe one day you would like to go to the food-processing sector to have a look at what these people do, to see how they are growing an industry. You may like to realise how we have a great future in the beef industry because one of the other anomalies which we had with their side—and it is also associated with the beef sector— is that Labor were the geniuses who shut down the live cattle trade. Overnight they decided that we would no longer export to one of our major partners. Our solution, for the member for Forde, is that we are going to get rid of the tax because we do not believe, as you do, that we can single-handedly change the temperature of the globe.