75 pct of Australian business owners do not support carbon tax: expert

17:19, September 23, 2010      

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The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), which represents over 350,000 businesses in Australia through all sectors, on Thursday issued a statement saying 75 percent of business owners do not support a carbon tax.

The ACCI recently conducted a survey of its members for over 1, 000 business owners, showing that 75 percent of them oppose an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) or a Carbon Tax.

"They were from all sectors so more energy intensive businesses and service related businesses as well," Greg Evans, Director of Economics and Industry Policy told Xinhua in Canberra on Thursday, adding that the tax debate in Australia is of concern to many Chinese investors wishing to come to Australian market.

"Well absolutely I think businesses are always concerned by the imposition of a tax or an emissions trading scheme, especially as it's uncertain what the end impact of that will be on their businesses and what impact that might have on consumers."

"So I think business would prefer that we tackle this issue of reducing emissions through energy efficiency and greater use of energy technology."

Evans said a big concern for consumers of the energy price is that it would have a big impact on inflation in the economy. It would mean that a person will be spending a higher proportion of their income on their energy costs relative to the position today, so it potentially is a major adjustment cost for the Australian economy.

"We think there's more sensible ways of doing that and that' s through using technology and energy efficiency rather than imposing an uncertain carbon tax or the uncertainty of the emissions trading scheme," he said.

The survey also found that the level of energy costs is businesses' most significant infrastructure concern. More than twice as many business owners oppose than support an ETS or carbon tax in advance of other major emitting nations, and support in the current environment for an emissions trading system is down to one if four business owners.

The survey came as Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has given a clear sign that Australian Federal Government is prepared to consider introducing a carbon tax, while the Greens have also consistently pushed for a carbon tax.

According to Evans, pursing the energy prices before any type of international agreement is a bad idea.

The situation in Australia at the moment in terms of economic modeling done by various bodies is that potentially Australia could have a doubling of its energy prices by 2015 and a tripling by 2020, and that is not just on the basis of an ETS but also other issues such as upgrading our network and generation ability, "Evans said.

"So these would be quite substantial increases in energy prices, Australia has always had affordable and secure energy supply and we're concerned about giving up that competitive advantage through the imposition of a carbon tax and an emissions trading scheme."

The ACCI is the peak body representing business in Australia from the top 100 companies to the small businesses that make up most of Australia's business sector.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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