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Greens don’t like us, so Libs must deal: truck lobby

Truck lobby urges emissions trading compromise, condemning Greens for 'not liking trucking'

October 16, 2009

The trucking lobby is urging compromise on an emissions trading scheme, while condemning a Greens proposal it says will punish fleet owners.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has thrown its support behind an emissions trading scheme, saying the considerable business expense is the best way to meet carbon reduction targets.

The industry group is concerned failure to pass federal legislation will see states impose their own restrictions on the trucking sector.

“If the Coalition and the Government can’t agree on a workable emissions trading system, it will leave a policy vacuum that will be filled by the states, territories and local government,” ATA Chairman Trevor Martyn says.

“In response to public pressure, they will end up putting in place inconsistent sector-specific regulations that will impose a huge compliance burden on Australian businesses.

“In the transport sector, we could see complex and prescriptive regulations about how companies can move freight or restrictions on the sort of engines that companies can use.”

Martyn believes proposed amendments from the Greens will do exactly that. In a rare partisan attack, he claims the Greens “don’t like the trucking industry”.

“They say they want a ‘just transition’ for the communities that support industries like ours, but that’s politician-speak for giving people a voucher for computer training as a token gesture and then tossing them on the unemployment scrapheap,” he says.

The ATA has calculated that the party’s proposed amendments – including scrapping the diesel rebate – will tax the industry 76 percent higher in fuel excise.

“The Greens plan would add $1.2 billion per year to the cost of road transport, which carries three-quarters of Australia’s freight, including every item on the shelves of every supermarket,” he says.

“Australian families would end up paying more than they should for their basic groceries. Australia’s export industries would suffer an entirely unnecessary blow to their competitiveness.”

Martyn urges the Coalition to agree to “realistic and practical amendments” at its party meeting on Sunday so the legislation can be passed.

He says the Government’s carbon pollution reduction scheme is the right business model to incentivise action on emissions.

“Australia’s trucking companies would look at the increasing cost of fuel and make decisions about the best way of dealing with it. Some would pass the increased cost onto their customers, others would buy more efficient trucks or use their existing fleets more efficiently. They would make the best decisions for their business.

“Our customers would use the industry’s changing freight costs as a guide to making their own decisions as well. All those individual decisions about prices and fuel use would add up to deliver Australia’s emissions target at the lowest cost.”

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