NATIONALS senator for Queensland Barnaby Joyce was amongst those with a beef against the carbon tax at a forum held in Armidale on Thursday.
Mr Joyce spoke at Ebor Beef’s carbon tax forum at the Armidale Ex-Services Club about the negative implications of the recently introduced carbon tax.
Mr Joyce said the real cost of investment in the carbon tax was the lack of investment in other things, such as the University of New England.
“We’ve had two billion dollars put into the Clean Energy Fund, imagine if we had the capacity to put $5 million of that into further investment in bovine genetics at the University of New England,” he said.
“It’s not just the fact that we’re making a crazy tax that’s not going cool the planet, it’s not going to have any effect on the climate, we’re also taking money out of people’s wallets, making them poorer and investing in many instances in the least productive sectors of our economy.”
Mr Joyce said the carbon tax will not have any impact on climate change and that Australia would get further by inspiring people to do things in a more efficient way through research and development.
“My solution is that human ingenuity is the one that takes us forward and human ingenuity is not inspired by a tax,” he said.
“People did not develop the wheel because they taxed walking, they did not develop the motorcar because they taxed horses and we are not going to develop a more efficient economy because we tax everybody.”
Other key speakers at the forum were Member for Northern Tablelands Richard Torbay, executive director of the Australian Farm Institute Mick Keogh and group environmental manager of Teys Australia Charles Hollingworth.
Mr Torbay said he had always opposed the carbon tax and felt people had every right to be concerned about it.
“We really need to get rid of this tax and look at those direct action measures that I feel people have been undertaking for some time and we should be congratulating them for but that information hasn’t been out there and this forum’s been a very good opportunity to do that,” he said.
Mr Torbay said some of the real effects of the carbon tax weren’t well known yet and that he felt the Northern Tablelands region could be adversely affected.
“I have to say we should be congratulating farmers, small and medium size entreprises, they have been changing their practices in a very sustainable way and getting no credit for it and it looks like with this system, you’re not going to see those people that have been doing the right thing rewarded.
“In fact, in some cases they’re going to be punished and that’s not a good thing.”
Around 200 people attended the forum, which Ebor Beef president Simon Wright said was informative.
“Like most primary producers in Australia, there’s a lot of confusion amongst our members about what the carbon tax is going to mean and how it’s going to affect the way we do business so the aim of today was to try and come away with a clearer picture of how it’s going impact our business,” he said.
“To be honest, I’d probably suggest that it confirmed the suspicions that people already held and that’s probably not a positive outcome for the carbon tax.
“It would seem that as it was presented today, farmers are at the bottom of the food chain and we’re going to bear the fair brunt of it I’d say.”