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ALC joins carbon tax rent-seekers

ALC lines up with mining conglomerates and lobby groups to demand compensation under carbon tax

April 18, 2011

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has joined a host of mining conglomerates, exporters and importers in demanding compensation for trade exposed industries under a carbon tax.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and signed by the ALC, the Federal Government has been warned a carbon tax must not compromise the competitiveness of export and import-competing businesses.

Signed by 45 groups, the letter includes the names of BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Bluescope Steel, Newcrest Mining, Orica, CSR, Bundaberg Sugar, OneSteel Manufacturing, the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

“A carbon pricing scheme that fails to include measures to full preserve the international competitiveness of Australia’s export and import-competing industry during a period of uneven or limited international action will cost jobs, investment and reduce the living standards of all Australians,” it claims.

“We seek your confirmation that the Government will ensure that Australia’s trade exposed industries are in no way disadvantaged through this reform.”

Australian Food and Grocery Council CEO Kate Carnell says industry is opposed to a tax that will increase the cost of food and grocery manufacturing in Australia. She says the sector is already under intense pressure and that imported products will not be affected by a carbon tax.

“These products are already relatively cheaper as a result of the high Australian dollar – so the proposed carbon tax will just make Australian products less competitive and that will cost jobs,” Carnell claims.

Gillard is still working with the Greens and independents to reach a deal on a carbon tax. it is due to begin on July 1 next year.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has suggested transport will be compensated, saying the Government has adopted the scrapped Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme as the basis for negotiations.

Linfox last week pledged support for a carbon tax, but wants transitional assistance for households and trade-exposed businesses.

In a letter it co-signed with companies such as GE, AGL, BP and IKEA, Linfox says a carbon price is critical to giving businesses certainty and creating jobs and investment.

“As the costs of action are outweighed by the costs of delay the carbon price should be implemented as soon as possible,” the letter reads.

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