Labor’s carbon tax will be a disincentive for efficient irrigation water use and penalise some of Australia’s most efficient water users, Coalition Murray-Darling Basin spokesman Simon Birmingham said today.
Irrigation water suppliers are warning that rising electricity bills will see an average irrigator’s water bill jump by $282, on top of the increased cost of power to pump water across their own properties.
The largest irrigation water supplier in SA’s Riverland, the Central Irrigation Trust (CIT), estimates that a combination of higher distribution charges and the carbon tax will see the electricity bill for its Waikerie Pumping Station 90 per cent higher in 2013 than in 2009.
But the CIT says power is necessary if water is to be used most efficiently.
“To use less water unfortunately you’ve got to use more energy.”
Gavin McMahon, chief executive, Central Irrigation Trust, The Advertiser, 12 April 2012
“Irrigation regions like CIT pump water through pipes to make most efficient use of the water, as against gravity fed open channel systems used elsewhere, but Labor’s carbon tax just makes such water efficient systems so much more expensive to operate,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“Efficient water use should be at the centre of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan now under development, yet Labor is adding disincentive and extra costs onto growers’ operations.
“The environment will suffer through higher than necessary water use if efficient operations are more expensive because of the carbon tax, with the real risk of vital upgrades not being undertaken.
“The carbon tax lands on 1 July this year, but will keep going up over the coming years with resulting further increases on electricity, gas and transport as well as the flow on rises to the cost of everything else.
“The carbon tax is a monumental environmental failure with Australia’s emissions still forecast to rise, recycling operations under threat and now efficient water use threatened too.
“Australians are rightly questioning the worth of making everything more expensive with the biggest such tax in the world when there appears to be only environmental downsides.
“Labor’s carbon tax is simply all pain and no gain.”