Growers excluded from CPRS
GROWERS have welcomed agriculture’s exclusion from the Federal government’s carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS), but have warned the scheme will still lead to higher costs for them.
Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chairman Dave Depaoli, Bundaberg Canegrowers president Alan Dingle and Canegrowers Isis chairman Joe Russo all acknowledged the decision was a win in the first instance.
But they were quick to express their concern that increased tax on fixed costs such as fuel, electricity and fertiliser would continue to sting the sector.
“We’ve been advocating this for a long time, and we’re very happy with the decision. It’s good to see the Federal Government was prepared to listen,” Mr Russo said.
Mr Russo feared farmers would have been “driven off their land” if they were included in the scheme, because the costs associated would have been far too high.
“But we are still concerned with the flow-on effects — we will be affected in other areas and we will find it difficult to pass the costs on.”
Mr Depaoli, who is also managing director of Austchilli, was wary of the full implications of the decision.
“It’s a win, but it’s also a negative,” he said.
“Our day-to-day growing won’t be taxed, but the other costs will.”
He said local farmers were taking the initiative, implementing strategies to reduce their carbon footprint and negate the extra costs expected.
“We’re all looking at new ways to minimise input and impact on the environment. It’s a proactive step,” he said.
Horticulture organisation Growcom also welcomed the government’s decision to exclude agriculture from the carbon pollution reduction scheme.
“We really didn’t need an extra cost imposition that would have very little benefit in terms of emissions and would be hugely costly to administer,” chief advocate Rachel Mackenzie said.
However, she too said the exact details of the agreement remained vague.
“An agricultural offset scheme should be introduced, as has been the case in countries overseas,” she said.
“The Government has indicated that it will examine options for an offset scheme that will allow farmers to participate in the carbon market, but there are no details on how this scheme might operate.”