Crisps Coaches owner Russell Crisp is still unsure on what affect the carbon tax would have on his business but said any expenses would be passed on to the consumer.
Crisps Coaches owner Russell Crisp is still unsure on what affect the carbon tax would have on his business but said any expenses would be passed on to the consumer. Kerri Burns-Taylor

Businesses fail to warm to new tax

AS TONY Abbott's push for a vote on the carbon tax yesterday look set for defeat, Rose City business identities have expressed their confusion as to what the tax would mean for them if it were imposed.

Crisp's Coaches owner Russell Crisp said he was struggling to find information on how his business would be affected, saying often people were scared to open up.

“They don't want to say too much in case they say the wrong thing and they definitely don't want to write anything down because it leaves a paper trail,” he said.

Mr Crisp feels as though he is “floundering in the dark”, unclear of what affect the tax may have on his expenses and those of his passengers.

“I don't think the government even knows – they're just flying blind as far as I can see,” he said.

Despite being hazy on the details, Mr Crisp admitted one thing he knew for sure was “any carbon tax will be passed on to the consumers”.

He said he feared the effect the added cost would have on his business, saying his customers were already unable to take advantage of government subsidies offered to those in metro areas.

“The people in the areas we service get no government subsidies and I have to run whether I have one or 50 people on board,” he said.

“It just costs me a fortune to run with one passenger and basically we're doing the government's job for them.”

Rose City Shoppingworld manager Jason Gard said the tax was “just another expense for people to be incurring” and would hit the pockets and confidence of consumers.

“The cost of simply living is going to get more expensive and people are going to have less disposable income,” he said.

While Mr Gard said the impending tax had people worried, he said there was still a cloud of uncertainty hovering overhead, as people were unsure of how much it will impact their budget.

He said the national retail sales growth average had been around 2.3% over the past few years but should have been closer to 6%.

Following the economic instability seen over the past couple of years, Mr Gard said he believed there needed to be a focus on stabilising the economy to where people felt comfortable again before imposing another tax.

“With the other cost of living increases I'm worried we may be moving too far, too fast,” he said.

“They need to put exactly what people are spending on the table so people can make an informed judgment.

"Any increase is too much but people can judge better if they know what they're in for.”

Chamber of Commerce president David Littleproud said the tax could delay recovery from the floods.

“With rising costs of living for households and businesses this may hurt confidence and disposable spending which may slow down our recovery from the recent floods,” he said.

Mr Littleproud said he was also worried about the transition of this tax to an Emissions Trading Scheme and where the price of carbon may end up in a free market.

 

What is the Carbon Tax?

  • The carbon tax is a levy designed to penalise large scale polluters. The government plans to directly charge the top 1000 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 initial price on carbon is likely to be between $20-$30 per 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.
  • While only the top 1000 pollution producing companies will be taxed, the Federal Government concedes that small business and households will see an initial increase in costs, as the tax is passed on to consumers


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