A recent survey by the Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) has revealed more than three quarters of Victoria’s tourism operators have a limited understanding of the implications of the government’s Clean Energy Future package, more commonly referred to as the carbon tax.
VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith says the survey of their members outlined the dire need for today’s focus at its quarterly forum.
“Only 20 per cent of our surveyed members feel confident that they are well advised about, and prepared for, the commencement of the carbon tax which will come in to play from 1 July this year,” says Ms Smith. “Seventy-seven per cent of our members don’t feel they understand the effect it will have on their businesses at all.
“The carbon tax will have a significant impact on our members, particularly our smaller operators who will be susceptible to price rises on carbon intensive purchases and increases passed through their supply chains.
“Things such as airfares, and electricity and gas bills will increase and have a potential influence on tourism operators. In particular waste and the costs associated with the disposal of waste are closely linked to the carbon tax and this is likely to influence the industry. There may also be an impact on the disposable income of potential domestic travellers.
“Many of our members have already taken steps to address the implications of the carbon tax.”
Some of the measures VTIC members reported as having implemented to help manage the new tax burden include:
- Reassessment of energy usage and providers
- Undertaking sustainability review programs such as Grow Me the Money and EarthCheck
- Joining a buying group to purchase energy at a bulk reduced rate
- Locking in power rates with a company that has carbon offsets
- Switching to a greener electricity provider
- Budgeting for increased utilities cost
- Reviewing the efficiency of primary energy usage items such as air conditioning
- Installing solar power panels and water tanks
- Increasing tariffs to compensate for the burden of the tax
- Re-negotiation of supplier services contracts
“Today’s forum will feature key speakers who will help to guide the decision and practices of tourism operators so that they are able to best manage the changes the carbon tax will bring for the operation of their business,” says Ms Smith.
- Emma Whittlesea, a UK Sustainability Strategist and researcher, who will explore the inter-relationships between tourism and climate change
- Mike Tournier from the Carbon Market Institute will provide an overview of the carbon tax and the Government’s ‘Clean Energy Future’ assistance packages
- Michael Lambden, of VECCI Sustainability Services, will showcase some cases studies of operators in Victoria who have taken steps towards sustainability