You remember Tony Abbott’s warnings of a “great big new tax” on everything?

You remember him touring supermarkets, pie makers and trucking companies, warning how the carbon tax would dramatically increase the cost of living for ordinary Australians. You remember this because he spent years doing it. You remember this because it was the main reason he came to govern the country.

Well, here’s what the Australian Industry Group, a pro-business lobby group that has been no great friend of carbon pricing, said in its submission to the repeal of the carbon pricing laws, lodged yesterday:

“The ACCC and the Government more generally should also be aware that outside of energy prices, carbon price passthroughs have been limited and the impacts of repeal will also be limited.

An Ai Group survey earlier in 2013 found that 70% of businesses in the manufacturing, services and construction sectors were unable to pass through any of their carbon-related energy cost increases to customers. The remainder of the sample were able to pass through small amounts of their carbon cost. Across all businesses, just 6% of total carbon costs were estimated to have been passed on to customers.”

The Ai Group has belled the cat. The carbon tax has not amounted to a “great big new tax” on everything.

John Howard and Abbott like to warn of the “alarmism” of experts who say that humanity’s emissions of greenhouse gases are causing serious environmental problems. Abbott’s hysteria over carbon pricing is a much clearer example of alarmism, as the Ai Group statement indicates. He deserves to be called out over this.

And as for his promise that the repeal of the carbon price will lead to a significant drop in the cost of living? If the Ai Group is right, that just won’t happen. Voters should hold Abbott to account over that promise, too.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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