Car­bon tax strain on build­ing

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor -

AUS­TRALIA’S largest brick and tile maker says the gov­ern­ment’s car­bon price pro­posal will put fur­ther pres­sure on hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity, push­ing up the price of build­ing com­po­nents by six to 10 per cent.

B r i c k w o r k s L t d c h i e f ex­ec­u­tive Lind­say Par­tridge s a i d h o me c o n s t r u c t i o n would de­cline if a price is put on car­bon with­out suf­fi­cient re­bates to as­sist busi­ness to r e d u c e o r o f f s e t t h e i r emis­sions. ‘‘ We’re al­ready see­ing home own­er­ship rates fall in Aus­tralia be­cause of a f f o r d a b i l i t y i s s u e s a n d clearly this is go­ing to add to the cost of con­struc­tion of a new house,’’ Mr Par­tridge said yes­ter­day.

‘‘ All we are go­ing to do is cre­ate so­cial prob­lems be­cause peo­ple can’t af­ford to

Lind­say Par­tridge buy homes.’’ Mr Par­tridge said the cost of all build­ing ma­te­ri­als would rise un­der a car­bon tax, in­clud­ing roof tiles, metal roof­ing, glass, bricks, ce­ment and alu­minium win­dow frames.

‘‘ Ev­ery sin­gle ma­te­rial that is used to build a house, barr the labour, will have a tax on it,’’ he said. Mr Par­tridge said a car­bon price above $ 20 a tonne would add be­tween six and 10 per cent to the cost of bricks and roof tiles.

That would cost his com­pany $ 8 mil­lion a year, with a car­bon price at $ 20 per tonne, or $ 16 mil­lion a year, if the price was set at $ 40 a tonne. Mr Par­tridge said it would be hard to pass the full cost of those in­creases on to con­sumers, given hous­ing a f f o r d a b i l i t y w a s s o stretched. The most likely out­come un­der the cur­rent pro­posal was an in­crease in c h e a p e r p r o d u c t s f r o m coun­tries that do not price car­bon, he said.

‘‘ We al­ready im­port prod­ucts, so it would mean we would in­crease the per­cent­age that we im­port.’’

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