According to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), the survey of 500 retailers also found over a third plan to pass price increases onto consumers, and the same number will shed staff as a result of lost trade.
ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said retailers are already struggling to keep their doors open and hang onto staff in dismal trading conditions and the tax will serve only to make conditions more difficult.
“This isn’t about big business whining over cost increases and their bottom line; these are small retailers who are families, single mothers or young couples trying to support themselves in life just like all working Australians.”
“Over a third of retailers surveyed said they would shed staff as a result of lost trade due to the carbon tax and a further quarter just weren’t sure what the effects of the tax would mean for their staffing levels. As an industry that’s Australia’s largest employer of people, this is a disastrous finding.”
Julia Gillard announced early last month her Government would place a tax of $23 on every tonne of carbon released by this country’s 500 biggest polluters, and has denied calls this would mean rising costs for consumers. According to the Prime Minister, the tax (which is likely to cost $4.4 billion to implement) will cut some 159 million tonnes of carbon pollution by 2020, reducing Australia’s emissions by 5 percent.
Zimmerman said retailers have informed his organisation they’re implementing measures to reduce their carbon footprint, but rising utility costs are undoing their efforts.
“Aside from trying to reduce their own energy costs, there will be transport and delivery costs increases as a result of the carbon tax that retailers have no control over. This is why we have had such an anxious response from retailers ultimately worried sick about the future of their business, staff and livelihood,” he added.