Carbon tax decision upsets Ted
STATE Member for Mirani Ted Malone has come out swinging against the Federal Government's decision to include Mackay Sugar on the list of businesses set to be taxed for carbon emissions.
Mr Malone said it made no sense to apply the tax to the company given sugarcane's ability to store large amounts of carbon.
"In the paddock, the sunlight through the leaves of the sugarcane plant actually locks up carbon dioxide, which makes sugar a product of carbon," Mr Malone said.
"So the only carbon produced in a sugar mill is through losses that have already been locked up by the cane plant.
"Every tonne of sugar in a mill contains around half a tonne of carbon."
Dr Malcolm Wegener, of the University of Queensland's Agriculture and Food Sciences School, backed up Mr Malone's claims.
"Sugarcane has a C4 photosynthetic pathway... (and) that particular group of plants do convert solar energy into usable products more efficiently than temperate plants," Dr Wegener said.
"Sugarcane cycles carbon quickly through the atmosphere.
"Once the sugarcane is harvested and processed, much of the carbon stored in the plant is returned to the atmosphere."
However, a spokesman for Federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said Mr Malone was making misleading comments about how carbon pricing worked.
"Electricity generation from biomass, including biomass derived from sugar cane, is excluded from any carbon price liability," the spokesman said.
"The carbon price applies to facilities which emit 25,000tonnes or more of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases a year.
"Mackay Sugar has been assessed by the Clean Energy Regulator as meeting that threshold," he said.