AUSVEG welcomes Coalition’s concerns for vegetable industry
AUSVEG has welcomed the Federal Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop’s comments today regarding the negative effects the price increases in electricity will have for growers under the proposed carbon tax.
“Ms Bishop’s comments regarding the increases in power costs highlight a real concern for vegetable growers around the nation” said AUSVEG Public Affairs Manager, William Churchill.
AUSVEG is the national peak industry body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers and their businesses.
For large scale vegetable growers around the nation, energy costs on farm can be well in excess of $300,000 per year and any changes to rates can have a catastrophic effect on the viability of their businesses.
“We’ve all been told that agriculture will be exempt from the carbon tax but details about how critical inputs such as electricity for refrigeration and irrigation will be treated under the carbon tax have yet to be supplied to the horticulture industry,” Mr Churchill said.
“While we’ve had some initial dialogue with the Federal Government about the impact of the carbon tax for horticulture, we’re still a long way off from being able to identify how this will play out for growers and their businesses.”
“Refrigeration for vegetables is critical in maintaining the quality and freshness of the product which are crucial elements in the produce’s saleability to consumers. Our industry cannot function without refrigeration and any increases in costs will have to be borne by growers who are already fighting against cheap foreign imported products, strong competition and high labour costs.”
“The cost of electricity to vegetable growers must be addressed otherwise it will inevitably result in an increase in vegetable prices across the country,” said Mr Churchill.
MEDIA CONTACT: William Churchill – Public Affairs Manager, AUSVEG Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 04 111 66 748, Email: email@example.com