'Carbon tax will add $25 to rates'
THE carbon tax will add more than $25 to the average Ipswich resident's annual rates bill, Ipswich City Council figures have revealed.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale will bring down the council's 2012-13 budget today.
The mayor said the council's finance staff had advised the council about the impact of the carbon tax after consultation with council contractors.
"We've been told how much the carbon tax will cost us, which has come as a bit of a surprise. It's more than what we had anticipated," Cr Pisasale said.
"It will be between 1.8% and 2% of the budget. "The carbon tax will result in an average of about $25.55 being added to each ratepayer's yearly rates notice. "We've done everything we can to reduce the impact as much as possible.
"That's down to the bare bones." Mr Pisasale has been vocal in alerting ratepayers to the possible effects of the carbon tax. But he said he was not campaigning against it.
"I'm not arguing for or against the carbon tax. That's not my job," he said. "But, as a local authority, if our suppliers are going to charge more for their services we have to deal with that.
"When you're trying to bring down a budget it's difficult enough with all the issues to have to look at as a local authority. But when you've got external influences it makes it more difficult.
"You've got higher costs for wheelie bins, electric lights, increases on our roads maintenance. People are charging more for those services.
"I do appreciate the Federal Government is giving the ratepayers of Ipswich some dollars as compensation. But it would have been better if some of those dollars went to councils to nullify the impact of the carbon tax."
But Federal MP for Blair Shayne Neumann said the claims made by the mayor - which have been supported by other councillors and the council's chief executive - were "ridiculous".
He said help was being offered to councils to offset the impact of the tax, which came into effect on July 1.
"There's the low carbon communities fund and inside that is the community energy infrastructure grant and we've also increased funding for financial assistance grants for councils and they will be told that the funding will be brought forward by 50%," Mr Neumann said.
"So there is a plethora of funding available for them. Plus there's also low carbon Australia loans they can get to make sure all their buildings are fitted with energy efficiency devices. There are also carbon farming initiatives they can use."
Councils and companies have been warned they will face action from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission if they wrongly blame the carbon tax for increases in bills.
But Mayor Pisasale said he was not concerned about potential complaints.
"We're going to justify it all to the ACCC 100%," he said.