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Retailers feel the heat from the Carbon tax


•80 percent say business has been negatively impacted
•98 percent aren’t aware of government compensation programs
•60 percent say consumers have spent less since carbon pricing was introduced

Peak retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) today said that 80 percent of retailers felt their business had been negatively impacted since the introduction of the carbon tax in July 2012. 

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the findings of a energy efficiency in retail survey* conducted in late 2012 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.

“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.

“As the peak retail association for the $240 billion retail industry, the ARA is listening to and liaising with government at all levels on behalf of its members in order to deliver much needed information and training to retailers,” Mr Zimmerman said.
Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $243 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. Visit or call 1300 368 041. 

Survey: ‘Energy efficiency measures in retail’. October- December 2012

Please indicate how the Carbon Tax has affected your business?
Very negative impact- 23.3%
Some negative impact- 54.9%
No impact- 16.5%
Some positive impact- 2.4%
Very positive impact- 2.9%

Do you believe the Carbon Tax has affected consumer spending within your business?
Yes, consumers have spent less- 60.7% 
Yes, consumers have spent more- 1.0% 
No, spending has remained the same- 23.8% 
Not sure- 14.6%

Are you aware of any Government compensation for retailers?
Yes- 1.9% 
No- 98.1%

If known, please indicate how much your energy costs  have increased.
Less than 5%- 10%
5 – 10%- 20%
11 – 20%- 30%
21 – 30%- 15%
More than 30%- 11%
Not sure- 14%

What Government supplied programs has your business been able to access to reduce energy costs and consumption?
-None that we are aware of
Did not know that there was one
-None - didn't know there was any
-Haven't been informed of any so far

Please indicate how the Carbon Tax has affected your business?
-Increase in raw materials, all our merchandise is increasing. 
-Cost to operate and not quite sure the impact from suppliers at this stage. Too early to assess.
-Very difficult to assess the pass-on costs other than in electricity and this is also caught up with network cost increases.
-Increased cost of product. Increased expenses 
-It has added a total cost of approx $4000 ex GST per year to the operation of the business
-Rising electricity costs
-Business electricity cost have gone up it may only be 10% but it is a cost all business cannot absorb so will be passed on eventually
-Consumer attitude
-Customers have been afraid to spend money. Fuel Prices keep going up, living in the country it is our main mode of travel. My power bill has more than doubled.
-Higher delivery costs for stock and those that used to deliver for free now charge a freight fee
-freight and suppliers prices have gone up about 6% 
-Power costs up 40% since July 
-Supplier costs have gone up and input costs have also gone up

For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman contact: Kirsten Goodman, Marketing and Communication Manager T: 0400 137 317 E:

 *ARA survey of 215 retailers: ‘Energy efficiency measures in retail’. October- December 2012

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