EDITORIAL: Retaining diesel rebate the greenest solution

By: Jason Whittaker


Trucking operators are a lot like welfare groups - their rebates are held to ransom by politically opportunistic governments, current

Trucking operators are a lot like welfare groups - their rebates are held to ransom by politically opportunistic governments, current and alternative, a year-to-year or election-to-election proposition.

The diesel excise rebate, the 18.51 cent per litre lifeline for fleet operators, has in truth always been on the chopping block. No government has been prepared to back it long term.

Add in the considerable pressure from green lobby groups angrily demanding the credit be scrapped altogether, and you have yet another destructive debate over the worthiness of the diesel excise scheme.

In reality, Kevin Rudd's razor gang will probably keep clear of the trucking industry. The political fallout would be too great. But there are two points that need to be made.

Firstly, to the greenies, who fail to understand the link between a productive transport fleet and reduced emissions. It's widely acknowledged the best thing the trucking industry can do to reduce its carbon footprint is to run in the most efficient way possible. Reducing the profitability and competitiveness of the industry puts that at risk.

And secondly, to the Federal Government. Not only must it continue the rebate scheme, it must commit to it in the long term. End the political games and, importantly, the cost uncertainty for the trucking industry by signing up to the scheme indefinitely.

The endless debate over the diesel excise must end. For good. That is the only logical, and environmentally sensible, decision to take.

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