Garnaut says trucking industry doesnt need help under ETS

By: Jason Whittaker


The Rudd Government’s climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, says the trucking industry should fend for itself under an emissions trading

The Rudd Government’s climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, says the trucking industry should fend for itself under an emissions trading scheme.

Garnaut made the comment before a public forum in Brisbane, saying the trucking lobby is guilty of "exaggeration" by claiming the price of goods carried will increase if running costs rise under emissions trading.

He says compensation should be going to the end user because it will be the one hit with higher living costs.

"If the trucking industry says they will jack up the price of goods it means that the people who pay higher prices should be compensated not the trucking industry," Garnaut says.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has repeatedly argued operators will be forced to increase freight rates if emissions trading bites into their bottom line.

Because the industry is responsible for carrying everyday goods, ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair says price increases will be reflected in the form of greater grocery prices.

But Garnaut says consumers should not expect significantly higher prices because an emissions trading scheme will not have as great an impact on the trucking industry as fuel has.

"There will be some increases in prices. They will be modest in dimension compared with a lot of changes that have been happening as a result, for example, of the increase in the oil price," Garnaut says.

"So I think there is a lot of exaggeration going on and the important thing if, and when, the prices of some goods and services rise there is adequate compensation in other ways for low income Australian households."

The economist’s draft report recommends all permits be auctioned and 50 percent of the revenue used to compensate low-income households.

"The average family will not be poorer. It will pay more for some goods and services but it will receive more in other ways," he says.

"That is our recommendation and we think it can be done."

Garnaut says only trade-exposed industries should receive assistance, with his report advocating the Federal Government use 30 percent of revenue so businesses exporting can compete in countries without emissions trading.

During the interview, Garnaut also commented on a CSIRO report which projects fuel to hit $8 a litre by 2018 if oil supply is reduced. He says the finding has nothing to do with emissions trading because it is modelled on global oil prices.

During Garnaut's public forum in Brisbane to discuss his report, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) climate change policy adviser Kellie Caught told ATN the group is pushing the Government to mandate more freight be carried on rail.

"We should be shifting to rail which is a lot less greenhouse gas intensive," Caught says.

"These are the sorts of things that we need to be changing about our whole economy; moving to less greenhouse-intensive industries."

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