Richard Pratt’s Visy warns of job losses under emissions trading scheme

Billionaire Richard Pratt would be forced to immediately close two paper recycling plants and cut 160 workers as a result of the introduction on an emissions trading scheme with a carbon price of $20 a tonne.

Billionaire Richard Pratt would be forced to immediately close two paper recycling plants and cut 160 workers as a result of the introduction on an emissions trading scheme with a carbon price of $20 a tonne.

The revelations are contained in Visy’s response to the Government’s emissions trading green paper.

Visy says that the uncertainty around the carbon cost is creating “considerable uncertainty” for the company and making it difficult to assess the affects on an emission trading scheme on its operations. The company says it is also having difficulty “budgeting for its immediate and longer-term operations”.

However, the company has warned that the mooted $20-a-tonne carbon price would damage Visy. On top of the plant closures and job cuts, the company says at least $1 billion of planned investment would be jeopardised.

Visy is disappointed that the structure of the scheme means that companies that have reduced their carbon footprint in recent years – and Visy claims to have cut its carbon emissions by around 22% per tonne of paper produced in the last eight years – will actually receive less compensation than big emitters who have done nothing to reduce their footprint.

Not surprisingly, Visy would also like to see more credit given to recycling companies.

Visy is quick to point out in its submissions that it sees a number of business opportunities from the introduction of an emissions trading scheme and is already conducting feasibility studies in areas such as biomass energy plants, energy recovery from residual processing wastes and cogeneration and energy efficiency in manufacturing systems.

“Visy believes there are some genuine investment opportunities which could arise from Australia’s new carbon economy. But these will only be possible if… existing first-mover industries like Visy are given the scope to maintain their current development and investment trajectory here,” the submission says.

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