Trading on ets alarm

BUNDABERG has nothing to gain and everything to lose from the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), according to Queensland Senator Ron Boswell.

After visiting town this week, Mr Boswell said the Bundaberg region would be particularly hard hit by the scheme, because of its reliance on energy-intensive industries such as sugar-refining and horticulture.

“An Access Economics research paper, commissioned by Premier Anna Bligh as chair of the Council of Australian Federation, shows that the Wide Bay-Burnett area is forecast to lose 592 jobs, and $126 million in output by 2020 under an ETS,” Mr Boswell said.

“Refining sugar uses an enormous amount of power, and Millaquin is one of the leading refineries in Australia.

“Electricity prices are going to go up 40 to 50%, which will make many of Bundaberg's industries unviable.”

As well as the sugar industry, the Senator said that growers in the region would also suffer - and families would feel the pinch.

“Everything from fertiliser to transport, those costs will go onto horticulture,” he said.

“When that happens, the price of food will be forced up as well.”

And in even worse news for those who like a tipple, Mr Boswell said booze prices were likely to jump.

“Johnnie Walker will come in from the European Union (where alcohol-manufacturing is exempt from the ETS), and local products like Bundaberg Rum won't be able to compete (price-wise),” he said.

Mr Boswell said there was an urgent need to focus on trade-exposed enterprises in regional centres.

“This thing (the ETS) has no friends in regional Australia,” he warned.

“The ETS represents damage to jobs and businesses particularly in regional areas, and (small communities are) fearful of what it will mean to their jobs and families.”

Diageo, the parent company of Bundaberg Rum and Johnnie Walker, declined to comment.

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