Today's announcement by Climate Change Minister Penny Wong that agriculture is to be excluded from the ETS is an empty gesture. Agriculture was never in it in the first place and the Labor Government was not going to decide until 2013 whether to include agriculture from 2015.
Now it says it has excluded it. On 28 October The Australian reported that the Government would agree to this and also that the Rudd Government was prepared to "accept a Coalition demand to exclude agriculture from its emissions trading scheme but impose regulations to ensure the farm sector reduces greenhouse gases produced from livestock and crops …Government sources indicated it was considering a compromise package that tackled agricultural emissions in other ways".
Nothing has changed. The ETS is a massive new tax on all Australians but it is going to hit regional Australians hardest of all. At the same time the rest of the world is not on board, our major trading partners are not on board, and as we produce only 1.4% of the world’s emissions it is going to make absolutely no difference to the environment or the climate.
This is simply a gesture and The Nationals will not stand by and see regional Australia belted by a massive new tax that will make no difference to the world’s temperature.
Even if agriculture is excluded farmers will still be devastated by the extra costs that will be imposed. The increased costs for fuel, transport, electricity – input costs such as fertiliser, packaging and cement – will still fall right in the laps of our farmers. Food processors such as abattoirs are included and we all know who they have to will pass their increased costs on to – our farmers.
Senator Barnaby Joyce's petition
has received almost 10,000 signatures. Let's see how many more we can get in the next few days.