Food leaders excluded from PM’s carbon tax soiree

Wednesday, 04 May, 2011

Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has commented it found it disappointing that Australia’s largest manufacturing sector was left off the guest list for Julia Gillard’s carbon tax industry dinner party.

The Prime Minister is hosting senior business leaders at Kirribilli in an attempt to woo their support for the government’s proposed carbon pricing scheme.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell said while Australia’s $102 billion food and grocery manufacturing industry doesn’t oppose a price on carbon, it’s very concerning that the proposed carbon tax will undermine the competitiveness of products on supermarket shelves.

“I hope that when the PM and her guests tuck into their meals, they remember that under the proposed carbon tax, food and grocery prices are expected to rise between 3 and 5%,” Carnell said.

“Products requiring the most energy to manufacture would see the biggest cost increases such as baked goods, sugar and paper products.

“As Australia’s largest manufacturing sector employing more than 288,000 Australians, food and grocery manufacturers are already under intense pressure from a ‘perfect storm’ of rising input costs across the supply chain, such as energy, wages and water, higher transport costs, record high global commodity prices and supermarkets forcing down retail prices, which is seriously impacting margins.”

Carnell said imported products will not be affected by a carbon tax and will already be cheaper due to the high Aussie dollar - that’s why food and grocery manufacturing must be part of the carbon tax discussions.

“The government must ensure that Australian-manufactured food and groceries will not be made less competitive as a result of the carbon tax.

“If a carbon price puts Australian manufacturing at a disadvantage, it will ultimately result in exporting Australian manufacturing jobs and exporting emissions.”

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