UPDATE 2-Australian carbon scheme faces growing opposition

Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:20am GMT

* Carbon tax opposition swells

* Business warns of job, production losses (Updates with emissions data, factbox, graphic links)

SYDNEY, April 18 (Reuters) - Opposition to Australia's planned carbon tax is swelling with almost 60 percent of voters against the plan and major food retailers, miners, energy and agriculture firms writing to the prime minister criticising the tax.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council said the carbon tax would increase the cost of food and grocery manufacturing, while the Business Council of Australia said it could damage the country's export competitiveness and drive production offshore.

Forty-five mining, energy, agriculture and food firms said in a letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard they had no capacity to pass on carbon costs, with rising input prices due to supply chain problems after floods in eastern Australia and the strong Australian dollar.

As business executives stepped up their campaign against the tax, voters are also growing increasingly hostile as they fear that the tax would raise the cost of everything from food to electricity.

A poll of 1,400 people, carried out at the end of last week and published in Fairfax newspapers on Monday, found that 59 percent of respondents opposed the plan, up 3 percentage points from the last survey in March.


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