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Abbott zones in on Weet-Bix maker in carbon tax debate

A visit to Sanitarium’s NSW factory by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott earlier this week has sparked another political storm about the Federal Government’s proposed carbon tax.

"This carbon tax is going to be so toxic because it’s going to make the price of manufacturing everything here in Australia much, much higher,” Abbott told the Herald Sun at the NSW Sanitarium Health Foods factory, which makes the popular Weet-Bix breakfast cereal.

In response, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard criticised the Opposition Leader for involving Sanitarium in his assault on the carbon tax, saying the company was not considered as a big polluter and therefore would be exempt from the tax.

"He’s there trying to pretend to Australians that pricing carbon means an end to Weet-Bix. I mean this is just getting ridiculous,” Gillard told the International Business Times.

"What he hasn’t told people is Sanitarium isn’t one of the 1000 biggest polluters in the country. And Sanitarium won’t be paying a price on carbon."

Today, Shadow Innovation Minister Sophie Mirabella slammed the Prime Minister’s response, saying she did not understand the ramifications of her own carbon tax and she needed an urgent briefing from the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) to understand the industry’s concerns.

“It is simply extraordinary that Ms Gillard doesn’t realise that food manufacturing is an energy-intensive activity that will be ravaged by her tax,” Mirabella said.

“One of her more clued-up colleagues clearly needs to take her aside, and outline how her carbon tax would actually work.

“Because it appears she doesn’t have even the foggiest idea of the havoc it will create for thousands of businesses and jobs across the Australian economy.”

In April, the AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell voiced that any compensation for the carbon tax would not benefit food and grocery manufacturers.

Image: theaustralian.com.au

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