Almost half of Illawarra residents oppose the federal government's carbon tax and four out of five believe it has increased the cost of living, a new survey reveals.
IRIS Research surveyed 307 residents in September and found 47.1 per cent were opposed to the price on carbon over two months after it was introduced on July 1.
That compared to 36.8 per cent who supported it and 16.2 per cent who said they were unsure.
It also showed younger residents, aged between 18 and 39, were least likely to oppose the tax, with 35.9 per cent in opposition compared to 39.8 per cent who supported it and 24.3 per cent who were unsure.
The survey measured people's perceptions of the tax, not it's actual impact.
It found 81.6 per cent of residents believed the tax had caused the cost of living to rise, with 16.5 per cent saying it had increased a lot, 29.6 per cent saying it had increased a moderate amount and 35.5 per cent saying it had risen a little. Just 14.9 per cent said there had been no impact on costs.
Most people, 82.3 per cent, put energy price hikes down to the tax, while 54.7 per cent also believed it had caused fuel prices to increase.
Over half of residents also believed it had caused increases in the price of groceries (61.4 per cent) and fresh fruit and vegetables (58.4 per cent). One third believed grocery prices had stayed the same.
IRIS Research executive director Simon Pomfret said residents had seen the impact, especially on energy bills, but negative publicity surrounding the tax may also have "skewed" attitudes. "When you look at things like groceries and fruit and vegetables, there's an argument prices may have gone up because of increases of energy costs, but it would be very hard for people to pinpoint it down to just specifically the carbon tax."
Cunningham MP Sharon Bird said the government had identified that there would be an increase in the cost of living.
"That's exactly why part of the package was putting in place the household assistance," she said.
"People on fixed incomes would have got direct payments, people will get their tax cuts, there are a whole range of initiatives there to provide compensation to around about nine out of 10 households."
"I think the more important conversation ... is do people understand why we're doing it, do they support the intentions and are we doing things to help them as households, businesses actually become more energy-efficient."