Eighty per cent of retailers believe they have been negatively impacted since the carbon tax was introduced in July 2012.

A survey by the Australian Retailers Association that was conducted in late 2012 showed that when businesses were asked how the carbon tax has affected their business, 54.9 per cent said ‘some negative impact’ while 23.3 per cent said ‘very negative impact’.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said the findings were not surprising.

“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.

“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.”

Another question the survey asked was whether businesses believe the carbon tax has affected how much consumers were spending with them and 60.7 per cent said consumers have been spending less.

“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,” Zimmerman said.