ATA backs away from climate stance

ATA withdraws support for Rudd Government's ETS, marking a significant policy reversal by the peak trucking lobby

ATA backs away from climate stance
ATA backs away from climate stance
By Brad Gardner | February 17, 2010

The Australian Trucking Association has backed away from supporting the Rudd Government’s emissions trading scheme, marking a significant policy reversal from the peak trucking lobby.

Despite the group being one of the greatest cheerleaders of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, ATA spokesman Bill McKinley says the group is now trying to work with both sides of government to get the best deal for trucking operators.

ATA Chairman Trevor Martyn last year repeatedly urged politicians to support the Rudd Government’s plan, saying the trucking industry supported it.

The ATA also expressed disappointment when the CPRS was rejected in the Senate.

"Emissions trading is the best way to achieve Australia’s greenhouse targets at the lowest cost to industry and consumers," Martyn said at the time.

But when repeatedly asked if the ATA still stood by its position, McKinley responded: "The ATA is working with both the [Rudd] Government and the Coalition to make sure whoever wins the next election their climate change plan does not unfairly impact on the industry."

Martyn also previously claimed the Rudd Government’s scheme was better than any alternative even though it would cost the industry billions of dollars a year.

If passed, the CPRS will lead to higher fuel prices because fuel manufacturers will be required to buy permits to pollute and pass the costs down the chain.

The trucking industry will be given a reprieve for one year, with the Government agreeing to cut one cent from the excise for every one cent rise in the price of fuel from emissions trading.

Under the Coalition’s climate policy, businesses which reduce their emissions below historical averages will be able to sell the abatement to the Government.

This, the ATA claims, may give operators an incentive to invest in newer vehicles.

The policy U-turn is similar to the ATA’s stance on the ‘safe rates’ issue. It initially claimed overhauling pay methods would not improve safety, but then decided not to adopt a position on the issue.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott claim their plans will cut Australia’s emissions by five percent by 2020.

Abbott has labelled Rudd’s plan "a great big new tax", while Abbott has been accused of pulling a "con job" with his policy.

See the March edition of ATN for a wrap-up of each party’s plan and what it means for your business.

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