Food and grocery sector calls for emissions trading solution

Posted by Isobel Drake on 14th August 2009

All sides of politics must sit down and negotiate a solution to emissions trading that won’t put Australian manufacturing jobs at risk after the Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) legislation was defeated in the Senate today, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) suggested.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell contends that the CPRS Bill would have forced Australians to pay more for home-grown manufactured food and groceries.”The Government’s Bill would have been the equivalent a GST increase on Australian-made food and groceries on supermarket shelves,” she said. “Food and grocery spending represents 20 per cent of the weekly household budget so CPRS-inflated food and grocery prices will have a large impact on Australian families.”

“With the ETS in its current format, the food manufacturing industry estimates a price shock of around 5 per cent for Australian-made food and groceries.”

Ms Carnell said goods imported from countries in Asia will not be affected as these countries will not be subjected to a carbon charge in the foreseeable future.

“Unless our competitors including Malaysia, China and Indonesia are subject to the same carbon costs, Australian manufactured goods will be disadvantaged on Australian supermarket shelves and jobs will suffer,” she suggested. “Kevin Rudd has previously said he ‘didn’t want to be Prime Minister of a country that didn’t make anything’ – so we need to get the ETS right or that is exactly the type of country we will live in.”

The food and grocery industry would be happy to work with the Government to re-examine the issue and give better consideration to the issue of trade exposed industries including the food and grocery sector, Ms Carnell added.