Small businesses are already feeling the weight of the carbon tax in their electricity bills, sales revenue and employee intake.
The Shadow Minister for industry, innovation and science, Sophie Mirabella, Senator Marise Payne and federal Liberal candidate for Lindsay, Fiona Scott, visited Michael and Geraldine Zarb, owners of Mulgoa Gourmet Butchery, at their store last Friday to discuss the effects of the carbon tax on small business.
“At a time when business is doing it tough, at a time when the costs of living are going up, now is the worst possible time to slug small business with the additional costs of a carbon tax. We know across NSW the carbon tax will cost this state 31,000 jobs by 2030 and that came out of NSW Government treasury modelling,” Ms Mirabella said.
Mr and Mrs Zarb have owned Mulgoa Gourmet Butchery for 12 years and have seen a dramatic change over the last few months, which they think comes down to uncertainty.
“We have seen a lot of changes across the board in the last two to three months, even a drop in sales. No-one actually knows the impact that the carbon tax will have on them so I believe that people may be holding back,” Mr Zarb said.
Mr and Mrs Zarb are unsure of the carbon tax and how greatly it will affect their business, so aside from being forced to put prices up, they are no longer able to employ apprentices.
“I find the biggest thing, which is quite sad, is the apprentices. I enjoy putting apprentices on and we need them,” he said.
“We’ve put five young boys into a trade over the last 12 years and next year it is just not going to happen.”
Mr and Mrs Zarb have also had two employees resign in the last few months and are refraining from replacing them.
“These challenges that small businesses are facing and that Michael and Geraldine exemplify are the sorts of the concerns that we have been raising consistently around the carbon tax,” Ms Payne said.
But Lindsay MP, David Bradbury, believes locals shouldn’t be concerned.
“Treasury modelling of the Clean Energy Future plan shows it will increase the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by 0.7 per cent. This is a very modest price impact across the economy of less than one cent in the dollar,” he said.