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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8393

Senator NASH (New South WalesDeputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (18:06): I do appreciate that. Thank you, through you, Madam Chair, to the minister. Perhaps at some stage between now and lunchtime tomorrow the minister might like to give us some advice on that through this process. That would be quite useful. Also, the electricity costs which have been referred to certainly provide a significant disincentive when it comes to irrigated agriculture. A lot of these costs are going to fall to the irrigation community. We know they are going to be significant, looking at the 10 per cent cost that the minister has just referred to. They are going to be huge in a lot of cases for a lot of these farmers. What I am interested in is irrigated agriculture. Minister, you would be very well aware of all of this. The increased electricity costs are going to provide a real disincentive for irrigators to install piped and pressurised systems so that they can be far more efficient in what they are doing. Isn't it the case, then, that the carbon tax, by placing these increased electricity costs which we have just been discussing on farmers, is going to have the very perverse outcome of providing a disincentive to farmers being more efficient when it comes to irrigated agriculture?