AFGC urging coordinated effort on climate change

Posted by Editorial on 28th January 2010

Australian food and beverage manufacturers are calling on the government to match the efforts of other advanced economies when it comes to climate change policy rather than go it alone with their own scheme.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell said that, while the industry supported action on climate change, it is concerned about compromising the competitiveness of Australian manufacturing.

“We absolutely agree with the statement made by the Prime Minister following Copenhagen and Minister Wong statement today that we shouldn’t do any more or less than the rest of the world,” Ms Carnell explained. “But the current government approach of an unconditional 5% reduction asks Australians to pay more than double what communities in similar countries will pay – that won’t cut the mustard with the Australian community and it will be detrimental to trade-exposed industries.”

Government modelling conducted by Treasury in 2009 reported that for the current stated commitment levels, Australians would pay up to three times more than Europeans and about double what Americans will pay by 2020, the leading representative of the food manufacturing sector noted.

“The Government must deliver a global deal that doesn’t mean Australian industry will be disadvantaged in global markets. Australian manufacturers are competing directly on supermarket shelves with factories in countries such as China that are not likely to have a carbon cost,” Ms Carnell added.

“Industry is committed to playing its part by measuring and reducing emissions but Australian-made goods are traded on the global market – the simple fact is, until there is a global deal, they will be more expensive compared to goods that don’t have a carbon charge.

“It’s important that industry is not unfairly disadvantaged and we must ensure that Australia does not become totally reliant on China for our food supply.”