The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Bernie Ripoll

Bernie Ripoll

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

5 March 2012 - 18 September 2013

Media Release of 18/07/2012

NO.026

Opposition Caught Out Again On Carbon Price Claims

Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz has been caught out encouraging businesses in his electorate to price gouge and blame the carbon price.

In an interview on ABC Radio Brisbane this morning, Mr Buchholz made wildly exaggerated claims about carbon price impacts and said businesses would pass on these inflated costs to consumers.

Claim: "R404A is the gas that we use in refrigerants in Coles cold rooms, Woolworths cold rooms...it's gone from $92.88/kg as the measurement of weight through to $377.71 – an increase of 406 per cent on one singular line item."

Fact: The equivalent carbon price on R404A is $75 per kg.

Claim: "If you're buying something out of the refrigeration sector at IGA, or Coles, or Woolworths... these 400 per cent increases in operational costs as a line item are going to have an effect on your cost of living."

Fact: In reality, Coles and Woolworths have said the following:

'We're not seeing signals of suppliers expressing any concerns over cost increases so I think it will be managed well for consumers.' (Jon Church, Head of Communications, Coles, 27 June 2012).

"While there'll be a small increase in everyone's cost of doing business, I don't think there'll be an immediate impact on prices to the customer." (Andrew Hall, Public Affairs Director, Woolworths, 28 June 2012).

What Mr Buchholz failed to acknowledge is that these gases have very high global warming potentials – in many cases thousands of times more damaging than carbon dioxide.

And the first government to respond to this problem was the Howard Government in 2003 when it applied an import levy to them to start to provide the incentive to minimise leaks, encourage recycling and move to alternative gases where appropriate.

All Woolworths stores and all Aldi stores have moved towards different or lower impact gases over the last couple of years, so they've got much lower costs. As it states on the Woolworths website:

"All Woolworths' supermarkets now use reduced carbon refrigeration systems which have 75 per cent less global warming potential than systems traditionally used in food retailing. These systems combine synthetic refrigerants with carbon dioxide, which has a global warming potential 3700 times lower than conventional refrigerants."

Mr Buchholz also mentioned a transportation business in his electorate that is building a cold room in Sydney to store vegetables.

If Mr Buchholz was a responsible local member, he'd encourage this business to visit Crafty Chef in Sydney, which received a grant through the Government's Clean Technology Program to install new refrigeration which cut their emissions intensity by 50 per cent and installed a refrigerant which attracts no equivalent carbon price.

More information is available at: AusIndustry website and Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website

18 July 2012