OUR SAY: Abbott’s credibility rests on carbon tax savings

LAMB lovers will be grateful that Prime Minister Tony Abbott was wrong about the carbon tax pushing the price of a leg of lamb over $100, but voters will be hoping his rhetoric about the cost savings following the repeal of the tax are closer to the mark.

If the results don’t match the talk there will have been no point in Australia earning the dubious honour of being the first nation in the world to take a price off carbon.

The repeal of the carbon tax was what a majority of voters said they wanted at the last election, based on an expectation that energy prices would fall and the economy would be more competitive.

Mr Abbott has said the repeal of the tax will save the average household $550 annually. Nationals MP John Cobb weighed in on Thursday with a pledge that electricity prices would fall by around $200 and gas about $70, with even larger savings in regional areas.

The rest of the savings to the household budget will presumably come from savings on the cost of doing business, savings which will be passed on to consumers.

In Orange a couple of local retailers have identified very substantial energy savings indeed for their small businesses and the industry group representing independent supermarkets also predicts savings of many thousands of dollars annually.

It is questionable though whether any of these savings will be large enough for shoppers to see any carbon tax pain relief at the checkout.

The major supermarkets have already softened consumers up, arguing they absorbed the costs of the carbon tax and therefore will not be cutting prices following its repeal.

The first true test will be the next quarterly power and gas bills which voters will expect to be significantly lower.

If that’s the case that only leaves the small matter of the state of the environment to worry about.


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