Despite a one year delay the Rudd Government’s emissions trading legislation will butcher the profits of Australia’s beef industry, according to Queensland Nationals’ Senator Ron Boswell.
Speaking at Beef Australia 2009 in Rockhampton today, Senator Boswell said that “Mr Rudd’s announcement to delay an ETS by one year will only delay inevitable cost rises that will cripple agriculture industries, especially the beef industry.”
“Just this week the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) released a major study on the farm impacts of an ETS saying that farm income for the average beef farmer could fall by over 60% at a carbon price of $25 or by as much as 125% at a carbon price of $50 when agriculture becomes part of the ETS”.
“These astonishing numbers were produced because the figures only consider an ETS that includes New Zealand and Australia, rather than the unrealistic treasury modelling which sees all countries coming on board with an international agreement.”
“Obviously the RIRDC figures are more realistic because we have an icecreams chance in hell of getting countries like Brazil, Uruguay, India, and China imposing the costs of an ETS on their agricultural industries,” Senator Boswell said.
“Last week I heard evidence from Mr Brad Teys of Teys Brothers Holdings that from the outset of emissions trading their abattoir operations will suffer a $10 per head cost increase on the 350,000 cattle processed through its Rockhampton plant every year.”
“Despite being highly exposed to international markets, abattoirs will not receive any free permits as part of the trade assistance package because they fall well short of the minimum emissions allocation threshold of 1000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per $1 million of revenue,” Senator Boswell said.
“Margins in the red meat industry are currently between 1 and 3 percent and processors say they will not be able to pass those costs on to international customers and so will have to pass the costs back on to farmers,” Senator Boswell said.
“The Government has attempted to disguise the immediate impacts of the ETS on the beef industry by treating abattoirs as a general manufacturing facility rather than acknowledging the role they play in the agricultural supply chain.”
“This sneaky classification means that beef farmers will begin to suffer the costs of Rudd’s ETS from day one.”
“The evidence is becoming clearer every day that the beef industry will be the big loser from Rudd’s ETS, no matter when it is introduced.”