[OPINION] Carbon tax: who will benefit?

Manufacturers and suppliers of energy reduction technology will be the big winners of the government’s carbon tax, set to be introduced from 1 July 2012 — if only they can see the light.

While the majority of industry is reeling at the $23-per-tonne carbon price announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard this week, a percentage of manufacturers will actually be better off as a result of the scheme.

But, for some reason, Australian businesses are failing to see the light.

Ovum research director, Dr Steve Hodgkinson, says the climate change plan finally gives businesses clarity over the imperatives to invest in technology that reduces CO2 emissions.

“We expect that the Plan, assuming it proceeds to legislation, will lead to increased opportunities for companies that specialise in the software and systems needed to manage energy use efficiently and to report on compliance under the new carbon pricing arrangements,” he said.

Dr Hodgkinson is right: we’re not going to lower those carbon emissions without first investing in some pretty advanced, energy-saving equipment.

The government has already announced a range of tax offsets and grants designed to help manufacturers reduce their emissions, and become more globally-competitive.

The government has already put aside $35 million for the textiles, clothing and footwear (TCF) industry, called the TCF Strategic Capability Program, designed to help TCF companies reduce their carbon and boost their capabilities.

As part of the carbon plan, the steel industry is receiving a whopping $300 million to help them invest in energy reduction technology.

Another $10 billion is being put towards a Clean Energy Finance Corporation to help industry across the board to invest in carbon reduction measures.

All up, $9.2 billion of industry assistance is expected to be allocated over the first three years, as a result of the carbon tax.

That’s a lot of money up for grabs — and it will be spent on smart, energy saving technology, both for the industry and for the home. 

So while a large percentage of industry will be stung by the tax, another chunk will be laughing all the way to the bank.

The industry will need new automation, robotics, test and measurement gear, instrumentation, metering, and more.

Likewise, homeowners will be investing in solar panels, energy saving appliances and gas heating.

Systems integrators will be needed to install these systems, and ongoing support and maintenance will be required to keep them functioning.

Spare parts, upgrades, software, logistics and warehousing companies will be called on to manage the technology boom. 

Now isn’t the time to whinge and moan: it’s time for manufacturers to take advantage of the opportunities the carbon tax will generate for industry in Australia.

We might not have taken advantage of the resources boom, but we’d be insane to let an opportunity like this pass us by.

Get off your bums and think about your business. You can’t rely on the government to bail you out. Industry has been complaining about the authorities taking with one hand and giving with the other for decades. The government won’t change, so maybe you should.

It’s pure, simple, Business 101.

Image: Skynews.com.au


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