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Alliance calls for national transport energy plan

Trucking industry sector adds weight to fuel security and expenditure push


Truck and engine makers have joined trucking, motoring and energy organisations amongst others to demand a national transport energy plan.

Many of those organisations involved in “Joint statement in support of a comprehensive Transport Energy Plan for Australia” have links with the wider gas propulsion industry and the statement arrives a day before a book on freight’s use of gas fuel is due to be launched in Federal Parliament.

While one impetus for a greater use of gas fuel, the high oil price, has subsided somewhat, the grouping’s other central concerns, fuel security and lost expenditure, show no sign of fading.

“The Australian Government’s Energy Green Paper acknowledges the problem of energy security but does not fully explain the risks to the Australian public,” the statement reads.

“Transport fuel is the lifeblood of our society and our economy.

“Any major disruption to transport fuel supplies would quickly be felt across all parts of society and across every sector of our economy.

“For example, stockholding for vital goods (such as medicines, foods and transport fuel itself) can be as little as three-10 days at the point of sale in many cases.”

“Our world is increasingly volatile and any severe disruption of our fuel supplies would cause catastrophic economic impacts along with disruption to food supplies, medical and hospital supplies, military capability, emergency services and our general social cohesion.

“The Federal Government needs to better explain these risks to the Australian public.”

The transport and logistics sector backers include the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad), Iveco and parent CNH Industrial, the Truck Industry Council (TIC), Westport and Bosch.

Along with gas transport supporters such as Gas Energy Australia (GEA), Biofuels Association of Australia, APA Group and AGL, they want the Transport Energy Plan to include “a clear commitment from the Government that a secure, affordable and sustainable transport energy supply is fundamental to Australia’s safety and prosperity”.

The plan should also review supply chain policies, noting that a “stable and clear policy environment is critical to stimulating private sector investment in long-term infrastructure, with multiple public benefits”.

“True transport energy resilience will be achieved when Australia can sustain an adequate flow of transport energy to meet critical demand under adverse conditions,” the statement continues.

“Australia has options to improve the efficiency of transport fuel use and to produce a proportion of its own transport fuels. Some examples include natural gas, LPG, biofuels and electrical energy.

“Domestic production from these alternative sources would not only increase the nation’s energy resilience but also improve our terms of trade and create thousands of jobs.”

GEA CEO Mike Carmody says the Federal Government needs to commit to diversifying Australia’s fuel mix to lessen the impact of any future cut to imported oil supply.

“It’s time the Federal Government committed to policies to increase their uptake as transport fuels to help stop Australia becoming 100 per cent dependent on imported liquid fuel,” he adds.

Yesterday, Queensland premier Campbell Newman got behind the message at the opening of BOC’s facility in Chinchilla, saying: “If just a fraction of our trucking firms, mines and farms switched to domestically produced fuels, we would see more jobs for our kids and lower emissions, too.”

He also backed local development of “cleaner and greener fuels” alongside gas exports.

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