Goonellabah couple Leah and Jason Brunton have two children – Ava, 5 (pink top), and Abby, 4 (not pictured) – and suspect the Government may have underestimated the impact on grocery prices.
Goonellabah couple Leah and Jason Brunton have two children – Ava, 5 (pink top), and Abby, 4 (not pictured) – and suspect the Government may have underestimated the impact on grocery prices. Jay Cronan

Family worries about carbon compo

LEAH Brunton admits she did not understand the carbon tax before yesterday’s announcement of details by the government, and that she is not much clearer following.

Mrs Brunton lives with her husband Jason and their two girls, Ava, aged five, and Abby, aged four, in a four-bedroom home at Goonellabah.

The couple own a business and earned a combined annual income of about $50,000 last year, including some family assistance payments.

According to the government, costs for the average family will increase by about $9.90 a week as a result of the carbon tax, which will be offset by compensation of around $10.10 a week in the form of income tax cuts and increased family assistance payments.

But Mrs Brunton is adopting a wait-and-see approach, and is concerned the government’s package will not adequately compensate her family for increases in the cost of living.

“I can see that (groceries) are going to go up, especially when they include the tax on fuel for heavy vehicles,” she said.

“And with electricity, it is going to affect everybody. For example, keeping food in cold storage is going to cost the supermarkets more.

“I think the government has underestimated how much the cost of groceries are going to increase,” she said.

Mrs Brunton is also budgeting for more of an increase in her electricity bill than the average $3.30 the government has estimated.

She said her quarterly electricity bill averages around $600, which her statement tells her accounts for about 2.5 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Based on a price of $23 a tonne for carbon, Mrs Brunton believes her bill will increase by $57.50 a quarter, or $4.80 a week, as a result of the tax.

Mrs Brunton said she will become more conscious of saving energy in the short term, but she thinks people will get used to the higher prices and return to old habits in the longer term.

“Initially people will be frightened and try and cut their power usage, but as they get used to it they will get used to paying higher prices and just think of it as part of life,” she said.

“People used to complain about the GST, but now that is part of everyday life and people are used to paying it.”



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