Citizens brace for taxing time

RESIDENTS and business owners should be out of the dark in terms of all things carbon tax tomorrow, but there are fears the figures released are a starting point for escalating costs.

Chamber of Commerce president David Littleproud said while there is speculation of a $23/tonne price tag to be attached to carbon emissions, he said there was nothing committing the price to stay at that level for any period of time.

“I think we will get a watered-down version with a far greater tax to be imposed further down the track,” he said.

Firm facts have eluded the public until now and Mr Littleproud attributed the lack of information to a loss of consumer confidence.

“The problem is it has come out in dribs and drabs with no hard and fast facts,” he said.

“The government haven't handled it well, in terms of getting it out there and it has affected confidence.

Mr Littleproud said the risk of the price of carbon skyrocketing would come when the government transitioned from carbon tax to an emissions trading scheme in 2015.

He said at that stage the price per tonne would be determined by speculators “on the whim of science that may not be necessarily correct” and could change with any scientific statistic.

Despite speculated plans to scrap the tax on most fuel users, Mr Littleproud said there was no escaping the fact the tax would hurt households and businesses with higher costs.

Fraser's Transport director Ross Fraser will be waiting with bated breath for tomorrow's unveiling and said he feared the effect the tax would have on the transport company.

“We're worried about the extent to which it will cost us and our customers because we will have to pass it on,” Mr Fraser said.

“They're talking about six to seven cents per litre for diesel and if that's the case we will have to pass it on.”

Despite his fears, Mr Fraser said he was not expecting to have to make job cuts as a result of the tax.

He yesterday slammed the government's handling of the situation and the lack of information it had dispersed.

“I think the government has handled it very badly actually. To this day nobody has been able to tell me how taxing (carbon) will fix the problem, if there even is a problem.”

Mr Fraser said the government was very good at invoking new taxes, despite his belief they were very good at much else.

“The government get very comfortable with taxes, don't they?” he asked.

Mr Fraser said he was also bracing for the release of the council budget on Monday and the expected rate increase.

“It's never a good time for higher expenses but when they all come together it's not good,” he said.

 

What is carbon tax?

  • The carbon tax is a levy designed to penalise large scale polluters.
  • The government plans to directly charge the top 500 pollution producing companies in Australia by placing this tax on every tonne of carbon (CO2) emitted.
  • It is hoped the measure will promote the need for cleaner energy and reduce Australia's emissions.
  • The price on carbon is expected to start at $23 a tonne, with a projected increase of four per cent per year.
  • This will pave the way for a full emissions trading scheme after five years.


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