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Small business, consumers bear carbon cost Special

By Jordan Cullen     Nov 24, 2012 in Business
Australia introduced a carbon tax on July 1 2012 at a cost of $23 per tonne.
While it may be a step towards lowering carbon emissions, small business owners say they will have to raise prices, inadvertently affecting consumers.
Fisheries on the Spit owner Gary Heilmann said that businesses are finding it too expensive to do business in Australia due to rules and regulations.
“Even a minor cost increase across the board has a major flow on [effect] for us,” he said.
Mr Heilmann said his business exports fish overseas and would not be able to increase international prices due to competitor pricing.
“Other businesses around the world simply do not face these costs and so we are put at a competitive disadvantage,” he said.
“The reason we have a manufacturing base at all in Australia is because we’ve had cheap energy to use.
“Now we are going to make that energy dear, we’re simply going to lose our manufacturing base,” he said.
Outgoing Councillor Keryn Jones said she did not believe that the Carbon Tax would detriment local businesses.
“I don’t see it impacting us much at all,” she said.
After working for 4 years on an environmental portfolio with a strong focus on sustainability, Cr Jones supports the tax.
Cr Jones believes local business owners and the media have overstated the effects of the tax on small business.
“I think it is frankly a beat-up over very little,” she said.
Mr Heilmann believes the tax will have a negative effect on the economy as a whole.
“It’s just going to flow right through the economy and it’ll be nothing but a negative effect,” he said.
Mr Heilmann said coast consumers would undoubtedly incur a price rise as a result of rising costs.
John Sterling, owner of a Sunshine Coast marine electronics business agreed.
Mr Sterling said that he would be forced to increase the price if the cost of running his business became too high.
Mr Heilmann said that businesses were not able to absorb such an increase and had to offer an exemplary level of service to keep their customers.
“We’ll have to look at re-pricing our fish and chips … because of those flow-on costs.
“The costs of operating, the costs of doing business in Australia just keep going up and this is just another nail in the coffin,” he said.
More about Environment, Consumer, Carbon, Tax, Business
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