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TAS Country : September 16th 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010 Tasmanian Country 15 News Farmers fire up at power price rise KAROLIN MacGREGOR CONCERN: Kem Perkins. TASMANIAN dairy far- mers say the plan to lift the price of power by a further 21 per cent will hit pro- ducers hard. Tasmanian Suppliers Collective Bargaining Group chairman Kem Per- kins has written to the Tasmanian Economic Regulator outlining the group's concerns over power prices. Mr Perkins said it was important the regulator and the State Government understood just how much impact the increases would have on already stretched bottom lines. ''The fact is farmers are price takers not price ma- kers, and they don't have any way of passing this increase on,'' he said. The bargaining group represents about 90 Natio- nal Foods dairy farmers suppliers across the state. In his letter Mr Perkins said farmers were disap- pointed with the Economic Regulator's recommen- dation power prices be increased, especially fol- lowing the 6 per cent price hike in July this year. He said the fact the next state election was a long way off meant the State Government did not seem keen to act on the issue. ''They've already backed down on their commit- ment to cap the prices, but something has to be done. ''The margins for far- mers are already very tight, so this will be a big problem for some pro- ducers,'' he said. Independent member for Western Tiers Greg Hall is calling on the State Government to make sure the plight of farmers is emphasised when it makes a formal submission on the power price issue to the economic regulator. ''Power price rises on the rural sector will di- rectly undermine the State Government's policy to ex- pand irrigation and agri- cultural production,''Mr Hall said. He said State Treasurer Michael Aird had already conceded farmers were in a special position when it came to the impact of increasing power costs. ''The final pricing deter- mination could provide greater fairness to farmers by ensuring that they do not have the bear the full brunt of a 15 per cent increase, and the State Government has a role to play in ensuring the cir- cumstances facing farmers are properly considered by the regulator. ''Many agricultural bu- sinesses operate on ex- tremely tight margins and these price shocks could well put them out of busi- ness,'' he said. Mr Perkins said he ho- ped to meet with Premier David Bartlett soon to dis- cuss the issue. NEW BOY: Joe Ludwig Nationals slam city boy' agriculture minister AGRICULTURE has its second novice Federal Minister in three years. Queensland Senator Joe Ludwig has been appointed to the portfolio pre- viously held Tony Burke who will take on water, environment, communities and sustainable population. Simon Crean --- also a former agriculture minister --- is the new Minister for Regional Australia. Craig Emerson is the new Trade Minister and Greg Combet is in charge of climate change. Opposition agriculture spokesman John Cobb said Mr Burke's shift from agriculture would be ''widely wel- comed'' but ''unfortunately an un- known factional lightweight senator from Queensland has been given the job''. ''Senator Ludwig is best known for circumventing the Government's ad- vertising rules to allow the Labor Party to use up to $38.5 million of taxpayers' money to run a mining tax advertising campaign,'' Mr Cobb said. A spokesman for Nationals leader Warren Truss described Mr Ludwig as a ''city boy''. ''What would he know about rural areas?'' the spokesman asked. Mr Truss said Labor's failure to appoint a minister who lived in the country proved ''the contempt the ALP holds for regional areas''. The National Irrigators Council wel- comed Mr Burke's appointment to the water portfolio. Council chief executive Danny O'B- rien said: ''As the former Minister for Agriculture, Tony Burke knows how critical water is to food and fibre production and to the economic and social health of rural communities''. TRIGUARD is a trademark of Merial Limited. TRITON is a registered trademark of Argenta Manufacturing Limited. 2010 Merial Limited. TRIG-10-002 www.merial.com.au Protect your sheep with new triple-active TRIGUARD. Boasting the potent power of abamectin and a stable formulation, TRIGUARD provides reliable broad-spectrum protection, fights resistance and comes from the makers of another proven performer -- TRITON. Ask your rural supplier about the advantages of new TRIGUARD today. Every sheep, every dose, every time
September 9th 2010
September 23rd 2010