The introduction of the carbon tax has done little to dent consumer confidence, according to Roy Morgan Research, with consumer confidence rising slightly in the midst of the tax’s introduction.

Measured the weekend after the tax was introduced, consumer confidence rose 1.8 points on the preceding week to reach 111.8 points – placing the rating on higher ground than both a month and a year ago.

The improvement in the index was driven by increased confidence about personal finances, indicating that perceptions of the impact of the carbon tax among consumers may not be as bad as the media makes out. An increasing numbers of Australians say they expect to be better off financially this time next year and also that they are better off financially than this time last year, according to executive chairman of Roy Morgan Research, Gary Morgan.

“The small improvements in these indicators show the ‘on-the-ground’ impact of the Gillard Government’s carbon tax compensation payouts which have been sent to millions of Australians over the past month,” Morgan says.

Two in five (37%) Australians say they expect to be better off financially this time next year, up 3% in the past week, while less think they will be worse off financially (22%, down 4%). Almost one in three (29%) also believe they’re better off financially than this time last year, an increase of 1% in a week, but 33% say their family is worse off financially.

Confidence in Australia’s economy over the next twelve months is virtually unchanged with 30% expecting Australia to have ‘good times’ economically over the next 12 months compared to 33% (down 2%) who expect ‘bad times’. Looking further ahead, more expect the economy to go through ‘good times’ (35%) than ‘bad times’ (22%) in the next five years.

A majority of Australians, at 57%, believe now is a good time to buy major household items, while only 19% think it’s a bad time to be making these larger purchases.

Roy Morgan’s consumer confidence rating is calculated from a neutral point of 100. If the average number of people who are optimistic outweights the number who are pessimistic, the score will rise above 100. Fieldwork for the rating was conducted on July 7 and 8, among 1115 Australians aged 14 years and over.