Climate campaigner Al Gore with Clive Palmer at a Parliament House media conference...
The dairy industry has welcomed Clive Palmer’s announcement that his party will vote to abolish the carbon tax, in the Senate.
The billionaire MP made the announcement last night, flanked by prominent climate change campaigner and former US vice president, Al Gore.
The three Palmer United Party senators will support the bill provided that energy producers pass on any benefits from the repeal, to households and consumers.
The dairy industry has been quick to argue that the carbon tax has increased farmers’ electricity bills.
The Australian Dairy Industry Council says the carbon tax is costing the average dairy farmer between $5000 and $7000 per year.
The ADIC’s chair, Noel Campbell, says the carbon tax has hit dairy harder than other industries, which don’t rely as heavily on electricity.
“I was quite surprised to see [Clive] on the same podium yesterday with Al Gore,” he said.
“But we’re pleased the carbon tax removal’s going to occur.
“But we’re yet to see what the ramifications there are, I guess, with the relationship between the Prime Minister and Mr Palmer.”
The Senate will vote on the carbon tax repeal bill after it begins sitting from 7 July.
Clive Palmer has also said he won’t support the Government’s Direct Action Policy, which pays polluters to reduce their carbon emissions.
The Direct Action bill passed the Lower House last night but without the support of PUP in the Senate, the policy is effectively dead and buried.
Noel Campbell thinks Direct Action would’ve benefited larger companies instead of individual farmers.
“For the processing sector it was probably going to be more available [because] they’re able to sell down credits,” he said.
“We would require an equivalent of a carbon price of around about $18-$20 for farms to be viable to be put into respect of what the government would buy credits for.
“I think the government would be looking at a cost of around about $15 for that, so we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
But Senator Nick Xenophon says failing to legislate Direct Action would be a missed opportunity for the farm sector.
“There was real potential there to put money into the farming sector, into innovative manufacturing in respect of carbon abatement,” he said.
“We will also see a huge decline there at a time when we’re seeing a departure of the three original auto manufacturers.”
The Federal Independent and Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan has also thrown her support behind Direct Action and hopes that the policy has some hope of surviving.
“I’ve just been down in Parliament House and positively danced into the House and I looked at him saying, “Greg you look so happy today. What’s going on?!'”
“And I think for him, for the government, this could be such an amazing thing. They might not have to put all that money into Direct Action, so they produce this massive saving.
“But what I would like is a market mechanism. I think what’s happening in the world is that important…and I’m certainly going to be working with the crossbenchers and the Senate to say, ‘look, we need both of these, let’s not give up, guys’.
“We need massive amounts of money to come in and do what Direct Action was going to do. So I’m a supporter of direct action and I’m a supporter of market intervention.”
Cathy McGowan says some farmers in rural electorates are starting to tire of hearing about climate policy.
“There’s a full spectrum of opinion about this,” she said.
“There’s a whole mob of people who haven’t even started to engage. They say, ‘you pollies are still arguing about it. When you’ve sorted it out, let us know.’
“And then there’s the people at the other end for whom the changing climate is already having a big impact. Beechworth Honey, in my electorate, they’re restructuring their business because the activities of the bees have changed.”