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Carbon price must be part of Productivity Commission deliberations
05
Sep '11
Australian retailers are calling for the Productivity Commission to urgently consider the carbon price as part of their inquiry into the sector, Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) CEO Margy Osmond said.

“While retailers won't pay the carbon price directly, rising costs along the supply chain and increased utility costs will impact on their business, and this new burden should be part of the deliberations of the Commission.

“Particularly in the online space it will be an additional headache for our local retailers who will be faced with overseas retailers marketing into Australia who will not be paying GST or carrying the costs related to the carbon price,” she said.

In a further blow, ANRA surveyed 1000 Australians from across the country and found 40% have reduced spending and almost a fifth (18%) had slashed purchases „significantly? due to worries about the carbon price.

“What is really concerning is that 57% don?t know if they will receive any compensation and this is clearly adding to their uncertainty and unwillingness to spend.

“ANRA has been very clear that communicating the compensation arrangements to Australians would be an important factor in reducing the impact of the carbon price on Mums? and Dads? spending habits, clearly this is still an issue for the retail sector.

“Retailers are now operating in an environment with a consumer base who are misinformed, or overly concerned, about a new tax while still saving for a rainy day and with confidence going through the floor – it is not a rosy picture for shop keepers already struggling,” Mrs Osmond said.

In the total scheme of the household budget, the biggest impact on spending is utility bills. Some 47% of consumers surveyed said gas, water and electricity were the big brakes on their spending. Concern about the global economy and the prospect of another global financial collapse was the second most important issue, followed by the carbon price. Other factors impacting on spending included: job security, interest rates and wages.

“This environment adds even more weight to the importance of the Productivity Commission review into the retail sector. Governments in Australia need to acknowledge that the mish mash of trading hours legislation across the country, which places unfair restrictions on larger bricks and mortar retailing, along with the high GST threshold need to be addressed, and quickly,” Mrs Osmond said.

Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA)

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