Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has welcomed the Federal Government’s attention on energy issues and their objectives to keep prices down in the Energy White Paper, as well as to increase energy productivity and investment in a strong energy sector.
However, ADF is disappointed the White Paper has failed to deliver for Australia’s important rural industries and communities.
ADF President, Noel Campbell said the White Paper provides no direct response to critical issues of reliable and efficient energy supplies in regional areas. Mr Campbell added that the White Paper proposes policies which may add significant cost to regional customers in an attempt to charge consumers actual cost of energy use.
“The priorities suggested by the Government in the White Paper disregard the dairy industry’s high power needs for milking equipment, milk storage and cooling, and milk processing procedures,” Mr Campbell said.
“The introduction of cost-reflective tariffs would distinctly disadvantage dairy farmers and manufacturers located in areas where supply costs are higher and they are unable to alter patterns of energy use to take advantage of cheaper tariffs offered at non-peak times of day.”
In addition, ADF said the proposals to increase investment in the energy sector do not include any new solutions to provide regional consumers with the same reliable supply access enjoyed in urban regions.
“The Government needs to carefully consider all initiatives to ensure there is no damage to long-term competitiveness of Australian agricultural commodities including dairy,” Mr Campbell said.
Mr Campbell noted that a national productivity plan will be developed and hopes there is still an opportunity for the Government to deliver a viable incentive program for dairy farmers and manufacturers to increase their use of energy efficient technologies.
Dairy has already embraced the use of renewable, efficient technologies on farm and in manufacturing, however, this often involves significant capital cost barriers and to continue to build the industry’s long-term sustainability Government attention and action is required.
To enable the Australian dairy industry to grow, prosper and become more sustainable in future, the Government must act to encourage downward pressure on electricity prices, increased uptake of energy efficient technologies, and improve the reliability of supply which currently causes minor processing cost impediments with intermittent failures.
Shona McPherson, Media Officer
M: 0447 161 919