Carbon tax still standing as business groups plead for certainty

Carbon tax still standing as business groups plead for certainty

The carbon tax repeal has been blocked by the Senate, disappointing business groups who say they want the tax abolished and need long-awaited certainty.

Palmer United Party (PUP) senators voted with Labor and the Greens to block the repeal just after 12.30pm today.

This followed yesterday’s action by PUP senators and cross bench senators, including Motoring Enthusiast Party senator Ricky Muir, which blocked a bill to abolish future income tax cut compensation.

Both the PUP senators and Muir had indicated they would support the key parts of the legislation to repeal the tax despite yesterday’s drama, but left the Abbott government red faced again after another back flip.

The government said it would reintroduce the bills in the House of Representatives on Monday, having another go at the repeal in the Senate by the end of next week. 

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief operating officer John Osborn told SmartCompany the carbon tax was a dead weight that business will be happy to see the back of.

“The abolishment of the carbon tax will be a win for consumers, for energy customers and business,” says Osborn. “The abolishment of the tax will immediately stimulate business.”

Osborn says the carbon tax cost jobs, harmed Australia’s ability to be internationally competitive and imposed a unilaterally higher energy cost on Australian consumers and businesses.

He says ACCI has been opposed to the tax from the beginning and is pleased to see progress on its abolishment in the Senate.

“Business welcomes the Palmer United Party and independent senators that voted to repeal the tax and help break long standing senate deadlock,” says Osborn.

Council of Small Business Australia executive director Peter Strong told SmartCompany the abolishment of the tax will have a significant impact on many small businesses.

“Hopefully our power bills will go down,” says Strong.

But Strong says the most important factor for small businesses will be the certainty that will come from the decision to finally remove the controversial tax.

“It will put confidence into the sector,” he says. “Small business operates on confidence. Always, uncertainty is the thing we hate,” he says. “There have been too many leadership changes in the last few years, too much uncertainty.”

Strong says that confidence may inspire some small business to innovate with new products or push their marketing spend.

“We are the ones who innovate and we can’t innovate when there’s uncertainty,” he says.

This story was updated at 3.05pm on Thursday.

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