A SURVEY by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has highlighted new concerns about the impact of the Federal Government’s carbon tax -- 80 percent of respondents said business had been negatively impacted since the July 2012 introduction.
About 60 percent of retailers surveyed said consumers had spent less since the carbon tax was introduced and 98 percent said they were not aware of government compensation programs.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said he was not surprised by the findings of the energy efficiency in retail survey conducted in late 2012.
“It’s a concern that a vast majority of retailers were struggling on a business level due to carbon pricing and were not aware of government compensation programs in place to assist them,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“The introduction of carbon pricing was a massive legislative change for small business and one which has had a significant impact. In a climate of already suppressed retail spending, retailers are taking the hit of the carbon tax as consumers bypass the stores to pay household bills.
“It would appear that the government, although aware that big businesses would likely choose to pass the tax on to small businesses, the carbon tax was introduced without teaching businesses, particularly small businesses how to reduce their carbon footprint — which we understood is the ultimate aim of the tax.
“The cost of doing business has gone up for retailers due to higher utility bills and costs accumulated throughout the supply chain, which eventually fall onto retailers’ bottom lines and hit their customers’ already-sensitive hip pocket nerve.
“Many retailers reported significant increases in their bills, as well as a willingness to consider measures to reduce their carbon footprint such as more efficient lighting. The key challenge is in ensuring businesses are aware of any assistance they can access.
“The ARA is calling on government to provide the funding and information retailers need to cope with the adverse affects carbon pricing is having on their business.
“As the peak retail association for the $240billion retail industry, the ARA is listening to and liaising with government at all levels on behalf of its members in order to deliver much needed information and training to retailers,” Mr Zimmerman said.
SURVEY RESULTS ENERGY EFFICIENCY MEASURES IN RETAIL (Oct-Dec 2012)
The questions and responses to the survey are listed below:
Please indicate how the Carbon Tax has affected your business? Very negative impact- 23.3% Some negative impact- 54.9% No impact- 16.5% Some positive impact- 2.4% Very positive impact- 2.9%
Do you believe the Carbon Tax has affected consumer spending within your business? Yes, consumers have spent less- 60.7% Yes, consumers have spent more- 1.0% No, spending has remained the same- 23.8% Not sure- 14.6%
Are you aware of any government compensation for retailers? Yes- 1.9% No- 98.1%
If known, please indicate how much your energy costs have increased: Less than 5%: 10% 5 – 10%: 20% 11 – 20%: 30% 21 – 30%: 15% More than 30%: 11% Not sure: 14%
ARA also presented a collection of recurring comments from retailers who completed the survey:
What Government supplied programs has your business been able to access to reduce energy costs and consumption? - None that we are aware of. - Did not know that there was one. - None - didn't know there was any. - Haven't been informed of any so far.
Please indicate how the Carbon Tax has affected your business? - Increase in raw materials, all our merchandise is increasing. - Cost to operate and not quite sure the impact from suppliers at this stage. Too early to assess. - Very difficult to assess the pass-on costs other than in electricity and this is also caught up with network cost increases. - Increased cost of product. Increased expenses. - It has added a total cost of approx $4000 ex GST per year to the operation of the business. - Rising electricity costs. - Business electricity cost have gone up it may only be 10% but it is a cost all business cannot absorb so will be passed on eventually. - Consumer attitude. - Customers have been afraid to spend money. Fuel Prices keep going up, living in the country it is our main mode of travel. My power bill has more than doubled. - Higher delivery costs for stock and those that used to deliver for free now charge a freight fee - Freight and suppliers prices have gone up about 6%. - Power costs up 40% since July. - Supplier costs have gone up and input costs have also gone up.