ETS backdown could sting operators: ATA

Rudd Government decision to delay ETS could leave trucking operators financially worse off, ATA says

By Samantha Freestone | April 28, 2010

The Rudd Government’s decision to back away from an emissions trading scheme may impose significant financial costs on trucking operators, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday confirmed he would delay the introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) until at least the end of 2012. It was due to take effect from 2010 before the Government delayed it by one year due to the global financial crisis.

Although operators may benefit in the short-term, the ATA fears jurisdictions may follow restrictions imposed at the Port of Los Angeles forcing trucking companies to upgrade their vehicles before entering the port.

"Our main concern with the delay is that state and local governments and even major facilities like ports will rush in to fill the void with costly and badly thought through greenhouse measures," ATA Government Relations Manager Bill McKinley says.

"These regulations are likely to be much more expensive to the industry than the increase in fuel prices under the CPRS would have ever been."

Under Rudd’s emissions trading scheme, fuel manufacturers would have been forced to buy permits to pollute. The cost of the permits would be passed down the chain, leading to higher fuel prices.

The trucking industry was promised a one-year transition to emissions trading whereby one cent would be cut from the fuel excise for every one cent rise in the price of fuel due to the CPRS.

Operators with warehouses would have also noticed higher electricity bills because electricity generators would have also be bound by the CPRS.

In a doorstop interview yesterday, Rudd said he would wait at least until the Kyoto climate change commitment ends in 2012.

Rudd blamed a lack of support from the Opposition and slow international progress on climate change for the Government’s decision.

"These two factors together inevitably mean that the implementation of a CPRS in Australia will be delayed," he says.

Rudd once described climate change as "the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time" and claimed action to address the problem could not be delayed.

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