The controversial Carbon Tax has been passed by the Senate, making the legislation a fact of life for most Australian IT businesses.
The clean energy bills will only become law from July 1, 2012, but companies such as Canberra Data Centres (CDC) are already “pretty much prepared for it", according to managing director, Greg Boorer.
“In a roundabout way it will reward businesses like ours that have made investments in being the most efficient datacentres possible,” he said.
“As such, customers will invest in the most efficient energy bills possible.”
CDC is predominantly a Government-based datacentre provider, but Boorer expects that it will “be a nervous time to be confused about commercial clients", as commercial businesses are not bound by the same constraints and “are able to take their costs offshore if necessary".
Boorer is a strong proponent for an even playing field for all countries, though at the same time he is not up for a tax that impacts on “our competitiveness with overseas when we’re not going to change the climate ourselves".
“That said, this will become a global movement as the economies around the globe recover,” he said.
It is Boorer’s view, Australia is in the position to be an early adopter and businesses could have a five-year start on entering green manufacturing, but only if the money raised through the tax is not just fed back to the big polluting companies.
With the enactment of the Carbon Tax, the concern for Anittel CEO, Peter Kazacos, is that it is going to affect its datacentre.
“The impact there is going to be an impact on our competitiveness, but not as much as some other sectors,” he said.
Kazacos warns that regional Australia could be hit harder if not compensated, though not in IT because it was going to be offset by the NBN.
In many cases, the product will become virtualised and, therefore, not an issue with the Carbon Tax.
“The problem is more with physical products, which is less of an issue in our industry,” he said.
If people look to reduce their carbon footprints by investing in green product refreshes, Kazacos sees a silver lining appearing in the “opportunity to upgrade."
IDC vertical markets research manager, Emilie Ditton foresees the carbon tax impacting ICT spending, though the impact will be very different for organisations who are facing an increased tax as a result and those that aren't.
"Organisations in the manufacturing, transport and energy industries required to pay the tax will face an increase in costs that will have to be either managed internally through greater efficiency and productivity, or passed onto customers," she said.
"The capability of organisations to absorb another layer of cost will vary."
As an example, she points out that manufacturing organisations in Australia are already under "very serious cost pressures" and have been working to "remove costs out of their businesses" for some time now.
"Deployment of ICT has been a key part of doing this, and it means that removing further cost out of the business without involving the realignment of processes with the reduction of energy usage being the central process design metric, will be very difficult for many manufacturing organisations," she explained.