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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Greg Hunt hides carbon tax driven innovation

In a relentlessly negative campaign against putting a price on carbon, Tony Abbott the then leader of the opposition visited Austral Bricks in September 2011.
Austral Bricks managing director Lindsay Partridge said the Brickworks had reduced carbon emissions by 40 per cent in the past decade, but the introduction of the carbon tax would cost his company $12.8 million a year. 
“This is one of the many businesses in one of the many industries which is going to be badly hit by the Prime Minister’s toxic tax,” Mr Abbott said. “The thing about the carbon tax is that it’s going to be very tough for Australian families, it’s going to be particularly tough for Australian homebuyers.” 

Shortly after, Gerbilnow contacted Austral Bricks and suggested it assess renewable energy for firing its brick kilns. The use of waste timber in a gasifier for this process has two commercial benefits. 
  1. The cost of fuel was substantially lower than natural gas.
  2. No carbon tax was payable.

The carbon tax is an incentive to adopt such innovations. In particular it is an incentive to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. As a result of the switch the cost of new houses may fall as the cost of bricks can be lowered.

Fast forward 2½ years to March 2014.

Greg Hunt visits Austral Bricks that is now making carbon nuetral bricks

Two different descriptions of Austral Bricks' innovation to become the first carbon-neutral brick manufacturer in Australia emerge.

The one by Tony Abbott's Minister for the Environment conceals the facts:
  • that a switch to renewable energy has been made, 
  • that the cost of manufacturing bricks is lower as a result, and 
  • that the carbon tax has served as an incentive for positive outcomes for both the environment and the economy.

The real description:

Sawdust for fuel now fires Australia’s first carbon neutral bricks

13 March 2014 | David Wheeldon | Architecture & Design

Austral Brick’s national energy and sustainability manager Steven Mouzakis said the use of low emissions biomass as opposed to fossil fuels is largely responsible for the plant’s low carbon dioxide emissions.

“Emissions from the biomass are just 215 tonnes per year, about the same as 12 average Australian households,” he said.

“In contrast, a conventional natural gas kiln of the same capacity could emit approximately 8,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.”

The false and deceitful description by Greg Hunt, the Minister for the Environment in the Abbott Government:

Austral bricks goes carbon neutral

17 March 2014 | The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment | Media release

Congratulations to Austral Bricks on becoming a leader in their field.

For businesses, being carbon neutral means looking carefully for ways to reduce energy emissions, which makes good business sense as well as being good for the environment.

Austral Bricks has ...found innovative ways of reducing these emissions.

These include switching some of its kiln operations from coal to gas, as well as improving the energy efficiency of their lighting. ...

Steven Mouzakis, National Energy and Sustainability Manager of Brickworks Building Products, which produces Austral Bricks, said the company is delighted to have achieved a carbon neutral footprint for its range of brick and paver products manufactured at the Longford facility.

Further reading -

Save $12.8 million a year

Carbon tax innovation saves jobs and boosts profits