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CEFC plugging the gap in Australian manufacturing assistance

Nightingale Bros apple and chestnut growers in Wandiligong, Victoria is saving 40 per cent on energy thanks to a CEFC loan.

By Cameron Jewell

6 March 2014 — While some high profile Australian manufacturers flounder or fail, The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has helped boost competitiveness of others – a profit to the taxpayer of $2.40 a tonne,  chief executive Oliver Yates said on Thursday.

Mr Oliver said manufacturers and food processing were already benefitting from the CEFC and Commonwealth Bank’s Energy Efficient Loan program, which provides finance for equipment to increase energy efficiency and boost competitiveness.

He said energy costs could be a major input cost for many food producers and manufacturing businesses, and by upgrading to new technologies and more efficient equipment they could improve their business and profit margins.

“This program is providing clean energy finance opportunities for manufacturers and other sectors at a scale that simply hasn’t existed until now,” Mr Yates said.

“New productivity initiatives financed through Energy Efficient Loans are helping these businesses remain the backbone of their communities, providing local employment opportunities and helping manufacturers to remain competitive in a rapidly changing environment.”

Examples of businesses in rural Victoria that have benefited from the loans include:

  • Nightingale Bros Pty Ltd, a family business in Wandiligong growing apples and chestnuts, that is expecting to cut its energy costs by about 40 per cent through upgrading to an ammonia-based refrigeration system
  • Global Roto-Moulding Pty Ltd in Irymple, a manufacturer of specialised engineered plastic products that is expecting to more than halve its oven energy use through an upgrade of its rotational moulding ovens
  • Wodonga Rendering and Wodonga Abattoirs, which is are installing a $4 million trigeneration plant that is estimated to save about a third in energy costs

The Federal Government has tried to abolish the CEFC. However, the Senate in December blocked the legislation. The government is set to try again once the Senate numbers change in July.

The CEFC last year revealed it was abating carbon at a net profit of $2.40 a tonne to the taxpayer.

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Recent manufacturing failures have included closures announced for  Ford, Toyota and Alcoa, and SPC Ardmona needed a Victorian government bailout to survive.

The Federal government said it will assist with  policies including delaying superannuation increases, changing Fair Work laws, cutting “red and green tape” and, of course, axing the carbon and mining taxes, which most companies deny has had an impact or failed to include in reasons for winding back operations.

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