Garnaut report reinvigorates push for higher productivity vehicles

By: Jason Whittaker


Governments must slash road user charges to encourage greater use of higher productivity vehicles if they are serious about addressing

Governments must slash road user charges to encourage greater use of higher productivity vehicles if they are serious about addressing climate change, according to the trucking lobby.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is using the findings of Ross Garnaut’s interim report on climate change to push for wider access for vehicles capable of carrying more freight per load.

With Garnaut painting a bleak picture if urgent action is not taken to reduce emission levels, ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair says jurisdictions can deliver immediate results by removing restrictions on vehicles such as B-triples.

"If you want a cleaner outcome, you really need to restrict the growth in the number of trucks," he says.

"Better combinations use less fuel."

But St Clair says it will only work if the Federal Government stops increasing charges on vehicles such as B-doubles, which faces a registration increase of more than $6,000 over three years.

He says the industry must be given incentives to move to higher productivity vehicles, and argues revenue gained from an emissions trading scheme should be invested encouraging greater take-up of multi-combination trucks.

The ATA’s wish list also extends to dedicated truck lanes as well as practical measures to reduce urban congestion.

In a break from tradition, this includes pouring funds into public transport networks. St Clair says the ATA had previously argued against too much investment in public transport, but he now sees it as the answer to getting cars off the road to increase road freight productivity.

"You need a good public transport system because that will ease congestion. That’s where you need the money to go," St Cair says.

The ATA, however, is not supporting the Greens’ call for the Federal Government mandate the industry move to latest Euro-standard engines.

According to St Clair, the industry will not be able to afford to transition immediately to new trucks because a large part of the freight task is made up of pre-1996 vehicles.

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