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Waste chief Terry Peabody hits at carbon trading

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THE head of Australia’s biggest waste group is a climate change sceptic who believes the Federal Government’s emissions trading scheme is “ill-founded and premature”.
Terry Peabody, chairman of Brisbane-based Transpacific Industries, called for the carbon reduction plan to be pushed back to 2012.

He said the expected start of the ETS next year was certain to make business conditions more difficult at a time of economic downturn.

“It is putting Australia in a position that is going to be very detrimental to our economy,” Mr Peabody told The Courier-Mail-sponsored Australian Institute of Company Directors lunch in Brisbane.

“There are many inequities and it has been rushed through,” he said.

“There hasn’t been enough consultation with industry groups.”

Mr Peabody told The Courier-Mail the ETS would add an “enormous cost” to doing business and the Government “could not pick a worse time to bring it in”.

He warned Australia should not start such a scheme by itself but do so in concert with other countries.

In response to a question that cast doubt on the scientific certainty about climate change, Mr Peabody agreed that the rush to create policy in response to the perceived threat was “one of the most worrying things”.

Mr Peabody reaffirmed his scepticism about global warming in comments after his 20-minute speech.

“I’m not even sure that it’s happening,” he said. “I believe the consensus is there and I’m quite prepared to listen to the consensus. I’m not denying that … but I’m not a qualified scientist so I don’t truly know.”

Mr Peabody declined to comment about Transpacific, which suspended share trading on February 19 for a month as it continues negotiations with potential investors to help reduce a $2.3 billion debt burden.

The company said at the time it was in talks with several parties over a proposed equity injection and was in discussions with its 23-member banking syndicate.

Transpacific, which piled up the debt acquiring rival operators, last month reported an 18 per cent slide in half-year net profit to $62.9 million.

Transpacific shares remain frozen at $1.80, far from their high above $14 just two years ago.

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