FORMER Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson made an impassioned call for rural Australia to make combating massively increased energy costs a political priority.
Speaking at the Yulgilbar on Friday, Mr Anderson said it was outrageous that the $30/head gain delivered through the adoption of technology in the lamb processing sector had already been wiped out by equivalent rises in energy prices.
“Energy policy in this country is in a shambles,” Mr Anderson said.
“We used to have the cheapest electricity in the OECD. We are now double America, double the price of France and more than Japan that has no raw materials or essential energies of its own.
“It takes an extraordinary mix of policy incompetence to get us to that stage that threatens our very being.”
Mr Anderson said as food and fibre processing represented the biggest manufacturer sector in Australia, it was in the interests of farmers to bring whatever political pressure was possible to reduce costs.
“Every time costs go up we lose markets, we lose competitiveness, we lose serious money out of our pockets. It must be addressed.”