“There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”

The Gillard GooseTroubled grain processor points finger at rising power prices

By Lisa Herbert -ABC – Thursday, 20/12/2012

Increased electricity prices and the high cost of wheat are being blamed for a NSW grain processor calling in the administrators.

McGrath Nicol has been appointed to try and find a buyer for Tamworth-based Grain Products Australia, which employs 68 people and processes up to 60,000 tonnes of wheat a year.

Managing director Robert Lowndes says the cost of that wheat went up 30 per cent between June and July because of the US drought.

He also blames the carbon tax for the company’s financial woes.

“Our electricity costs have gone up $1.2 million on an equivalent usage basis from when we fist did our plans three years ago. That’s a 75 per cent increase.

“About $0.7 million of that is due to high network charges. The rest is due to the carbon tax and environmental pass-through costs.”

Mr Lowndes says there are interested buyers, but says it’s too early to say if the company can be saved.

“It’s hard to say at the moment. The idea of the administrator is to try and sell the company.

“We have been trying, we have some people interested, but we haven’t been able to complete the sale.

“The administrator may be able to do that, but there’s no guarantee of that. Part of their job is they have to readvertise the business, so they will be looking to spread the net for possible buyers.”

Mr Lowndes says staff do have jobs for now.

“They do for the short term, certainly, but how short or long the short term is is uncertain at the moment.

“The receiver is looking at a number of options – do we just continue to run part of the plant, for example. So they’ll be working that out over the next week or so.”