Business groups are celebrating the much-awaited repeal of the carbon tax, which passed the Senate earlier this morning.
After the chaos of last week, when amendments from mining-magnate-turned-politician Clive Palmer threatened to derail the government’s plans, the Senate passed the repeal legislation with 39 votes in favour and 31 votes against.
The government secured the support of Palmer United Party (PUP) senators to pass the legislation, as well as Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party senator Ricky Muir, who is aligned with PUP.
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The Australian Retailers Association said this morning the removal of the tax is “a victory for retailers, consumers and common sense”.
“There is no doubt this boost to retailers’ bottom lines and the pockets of consumers will assist the sector to overcome pressures from excessive costs and be a boost to current low consumer confidence,” said ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman.
“Bakeries reported additional costs at over $20,000 per annum, and these are small independent businesses, let alone the costs to supermarkets and even the roll-on effect and general energy costs hitting specialty retail such as clothing and fashion stores,” said Zimmerman.
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry also welcomed the appeal, with chief executive officer Kate Carnell calling the carbon tax “a dead weight on the Australian economy.”
“Abolishing it is a win for consumers, a win for energy users and a win for business. Australia’s carbon tax was one of the highest in the world, making our key industries less competitive and providing very little by way of environmental benefit.”
The sentiment was reiterated by the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, which chief executive Mark Stone said will reduce the cost of doing business.
“We have been a consistent advocate for the need to repeal the tax and it is positive that the Federal Government has delivered on the key election commitment that will build a stronger economy,” said Stone.
“This will increase business productivity and competitiveness, as this tax has been a burden that has reduced profitability, suppressed employment and added to already difficult trading conditions.”
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said, beyond the repeal of the tax itself, industry also welcomed revisions made to price pass-through provisions.
“These should protect a wide range of businesses from unnecessary compliance burdens,” said Willox.
He also slammed the government’s handling of the repeal, calling the lead up “chaotic and opaque”.
“We strongly urge all parties to ensure that future legislative changes and amendments can be considered in detail and consulted on in full with business and others who are affected well before a vote.”