High energy costs affect manufacturers

‘Australian manufacturing industry was suffering,’ David Ferguson general manager of Victoria’s largest privately owned steel distributor Surdex Steel said.

Ferguson discussed the issues facing the manufacturing sector with opposition leader Tony Abbott, who visited the company in Dandenong south yesterday, the Dandenong Leader reports.

He raised concerns over the price hike in electricity bills for manufacturers due to carbon tax, pointing towards the company’s electricity bills which have increased by 29 per cent.

“The Government has set the carbon tax in place. It’s not going to change much, it’s tinkering with edges now and in a few years time they’ll fiddle around with it,” Ferguson added.

He went on to say that “we want to remain strong and viable. Every time the (Federal) Government puts another hurdle in our way, it makes it more difficult for us.”

“My concern is that in the meantime, Australian manufacturing becomes less competitive and we export jobs.”

Many manufacturers have been suffering under the carbon tax and Surdex Steel was one of them, Abbott explained.

Abbott stated that “the whole point of the carbon tax is to put prices up.”

Central government is investing more than $10 million in carbon tax revenue to bolster the industry local jobs and manufacturing and encourage industry to invest in cleaner technologies, Mark Dreyfus, Isaacs federal Labor MP said.

In addition, the federal government has set up a $40 million program which will provide information to SME’s and community organisations on different ways of minimising energy bills.