The VFF is concerned that these costs will threaten the processing industry, based largely in rural areas, and will also be transferred to farmers.

“While farmers support the principle of renewable energy, the community must be aware of the impact that prohibitive energy costs have on industry and on jobs,” said VFF President Andrew Broad.

“Many food processing companies are based in rural areas. Passing the legislation as it stands will put rural processing jobs at risk and threaten local economies.”

“Agriculture is one of the most trade exposed industries in Australia. Rising input costs at the processing level will inevitably be passed back to the farm gate threatening the viability of farmers and ultimately rural communities.”

“As we said together with the national farm lobby last week, placing the export competitiveness of Australian farmers at risk when countries with much higher levels of energy use are not doing the same is inequitable and will damage Australian industry and the rural economy.”

“While farmers are calling for the exclusion of food processors from mandatory targets, we are not renewable energy deniers. Farmers have promoted and adopted sustainable energy practices. The agricultural industry has been one of the most willing to take up the use of solar technologies.”

“Victorian farmers will support amendments to the legislation that provide food processors with an exemption from renewable energy liabilities,” Broad concluded.