While the Coalition didn’t release a 2013 election policy document explaining how they’d reduce emissions, they did release a document outlining how they’d axe the tax. The document is entitled The Coalition’s Policy to Deliver Lower Prices by Scrapping the Carbon Tax.
Within it is an excellent idea well worth supporting, in that it will highlight just how 'brilliant' the Abbott government's cost of living 'relief' will be when it axes the carbon tax.
The document states:
We will create a special unit within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission charged with monitoring and enforcing reasonably expected price reductions following the abolition of the carbon tax.
The Coalition has backed these words up with money, saying it'll provide $16 million to fund this special unit. That’s a fair bit of money, nearly twice the annual funding allocated to the Climate Change Authority which the Coalition felt was an incredible waste of taxpayers money.
Given how concerned the Coalition is to avoid waste I imagine it would be keen to ensure taxpayers could scrutinise the precise extent to which this $16 million was delivering them a reduction in their cost of living.
The Coalition policy says:
This unit will monitor consumer prices across all sectors of the economy. It will ensure that consumers and businesses receive the direct savings benefit on their electricity, gas and supermarket bills when the carbon tax is repealed.
So the first task of the ACCC division, I would suggest, would be to precisely determine and publish on their website for all to see what would be the “reasonably expected price reductions following the abolition of the carbon tax” per unit for a wide range of household products.
They should also provide actual surveyed prices 'before and after' carbon tax abolition so we can see whether that $16 million in funding delivered anything useful.
For power and gas, of course poor pensioners like Hetty Verolme and residents of western Sydney saw price increases of 50-80 per cent because of that dastardly carbon tax, according to Prime Minister Abbott and his colleagues. So naturally it’s only reasonable to expect that the ACCC should be able to deliver equivalent reductions in electricity prices once the tax is axed.
But considering how 'horrible' the carbon tax impact on the cost of living has been, they shouldn’t stop there. The ACCC should also publish the price reductions we might expect across all the items that the Coalition has claimed will experience astronomical price impacts.
First off the list for me would have to be the lamb roast. That should go down in price by about $100 once the carbon tax is abolished, based on the calculations of Barnaby Joyce.
I remember Joe Hockey holding a cling-wrapped watermelon and remarking how much energy would have gone into it – so cling-wrapped watermelons also need to go on the ACCC watch list.
I also distinctly recall Tony Abbott repeating a claim from the Housing Industry Association that the cost of constructing new homes would go up by around $5000. Again, the ACCC will need to document and publish average prices for new home construction before and after the abolition of the carbon tax.
Weet-Bix? That should go onto the list. And as for the milk that goes with it, I expect that Coles should reduce the price noticeably below their currently uniform 'dollar per litre'.
Indeed I could see the ACCC co-operating with the Daily Telegraph, Herald-Sun and the other assorted media outlets to get the word out to battlers doing it tough around the country. The media outlets could publish the assorted claims they’ve reported over the last few years from industry groups about how much prices would rise due to the carbon tax. Then the ACCC could report on whether they’ve managed to reverse those price increases.
For example, I recall the Monday after the carbon tax policy package was unveiled the Herald-Sun and Daily Tele ran a front page story headlined, 'JULIA GET REAL'. In it they suggested grocery prices would rise by triple the level the government had claimed. Based on these claims by the Australian Food and Grocery Council, we should expect to see a 5 per cent decline in the price of processed food.
If these price reductions don’t eventuate then one would imagine these newspapers, as self-anointed defenders of the Aussie battler, will aggressively pursue the Abbott government and the ACCC for answers.