With less than a week before the Gillard government starts the collection of the $23-per tonne carbon tax, the Opposition is using all means to discredit the tax. The Coalition strategies include tapping small Australian businesses to post fliers that apologises to customers for hiking their prices on account of the carbon tax.
The small businesses such as butchers shops, bakeries and fastfood outlets will receive on Thursday from the Coalition leaflets which contains the following apology: "We always strive to keep our prices at reasonable levels but because the Carbon Tax will make electricity and gas more expensive, our prices will increase."
The Opposition is stepping up its campaign against the carbon tax, scheduled to be collected beginning July 1, because of new survey results that the tax has divided the nation.
An Essential Media survey found that despite the belief by 91 per cent of respondents that the carbon tax would increase the cost of living, 35 per cent still supported it and 54 per cent oppose the carbon tax.
Even if Opposition leader Tony Abbott, who has vowed to repeal the carbon tax, would become prime minister in 2013 if the Coalition wins the election, 40 per cent of the survey respondents believe the law that created the carbon tax could not be repealed and 44 per cent said otherwise.
"We've provided small businesses with small posters that they can stick up in their window to help explain to customers how increased energy, refrigeration and input costs are impacting local small businesses," News.com.au quoted shadow Small Business Minister Bruce Bilson.
The Australian Retailers Association Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said most small businesses would not yet increase their prices the minute the carbon tax is collected next week, but they would likely adjust their price tags in the coming months. He said there is no way for the small enterprises to handle the added cost except to pass it on to consumers.
However, Minister for Small Business Brendan O'Connor estimated that the increase would likely be by $4 to $5 a week which he described as a negligible impact. Large businesses such as supermarket giant Woolworths promised not to increase prices despite the carbon tax.
"We think that can be passed on in a very, very modest way to consumers because consumers have been provided cash payments. And we think the alarm, the hysteria of Tony Abbott will be found to be untrue," ABC quoted Mr O'Connor.
Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury belittled the posters campaign of the Opposition.
"We are not worried about a few posters in a few stores. We are worried about people jacking up prices, ripping off customers and then falsely blaming those price increases on the carbon prices," Mr Bradbury said.
Mr Bilson has admitted that it has no research to back up their claim that the carbon tax would drastically boost prices of goods.
Businesses that unjustly hike prices on account of the carbon tax could be fined up to $1.1 million.
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