Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Axed tax to provide savings

Mixed response from Cobram region politicians and businesses to the Commonwealth's removal of a price on carbon.

LAURA HURLEY July 25, 2014 3:10am

The abolition of the carbon tax last week has many local businesses and residents heaving a sigh of relief, while environmental activists question the long-term ramifications of axing the policy.

Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone said abolishing the tax should see households begin to save on their power bill.

‘‘The legislation should see household electricity prices fall by about nine per cent and gas prices fall about seven per cent,’’ Dr Stone said.

‘‘Australia’s carbon tax was the highest in the world and seriously added to the cost of production in Australia.’’

Dr Stone supported alternative means of sourcing power in the future, including nuclear power, and believed Australia ‘‘should look at all the options’’.

She said the food manufacturing industry had been particularly hit hard by the tax.

‘‘It was a huge electricity bill for the area. Food manufacturing was one of the hardest hit industries given it uses so much power ... Murray Goulburn Dairy Co-op had to pay nearly $40million in carbon tax over the two years.’’

Dr Stone said the tax on refrigerant gases ‘‘made us one of the highest cost producers in the world’’.

However, Cobram Coolrooms owner Danny Dunn said the tax ‘‘hasn’t affected (us) one bit’’.

Baker Renewable Energy owner Garry Baker said he supported the abolition of the tax.

The Numurkah-based company offers solar and wind energy installations, and Mr Baker has converted his own premises to renewable forms of energy.

‘‘It was disadvantaging local industry to put a tax on carbon,’’ Mr Baker said.

‘‘And Australia’s output was a drop in the ocean compared to the carbon output of other countries.’’

Mr Baker said he had seen an increase in power bills as a result of the tax, and that was why many of his customers were switching to sustainable forms of energy.

‘‘Money pushes people towards renewable.’’

Mr Baker was concerned that, in light of axing the carbon tax, the government was not doing enough to encourage people to change to renewable forms of energy.

‘‘The government wants to pull back subsidies in renewable energy.

‘‘They should be pushing alternative energy solutions — there’s a whole bunch of options.’’

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