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Truss says regions will cop it under carbon tax

Regional freight operators will be hardest hit under a carbon tax, according to Nationals leader Warren Truss

By Brad Gardner | April 11, 2011

Regional trucking operators will suffer a heavier financial hit under a carbon tax than their urban counterparts, according to Nationals leader Warren Truss.

As negotiations continue between government and industry on putting a price on carbon, Truss has warned of cost blowouts to regional businesses’ bottom lines if fuel is included in the tax.

Truss claims it will do nothing to alter fuel use because regional operators have no alternative to switch to.

“Fuel use in regional Australia is inflexible and unresponsive to price movements because there are no alternatives. The ability to change vehicles or switch fuel technologies is limited at best,” he says.

Truss claims a host of other industries will be affected, including farming, mining operators and tourism.

“As for regional families, driving to work, getting the kids to and from school or going to the doctor, more often than not, involve lengthy road trips. Public transport is not an option. It does not exist.”

The Australian Trucking Association has been given a seat at the carbon tax negotiating table, and plans to push for greater use of higher productivity vehicles and for truck emission standards to be applied to all diesel engines.

The NSW Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association (LBCA) wants the ATA to campaign for any increases due to a carbon tax to be offset by reductions in the diesel excise.

“We’ll be strongly representing the industry, but there is not enough detail around the government’s proposal as yet for us to reach a position,” ATA Government Relations Manager Bill McKinley said last week.

The Federal Government’s climate change advisor, Professor Ross Garnaut, has recommended a starting price of between $20 and $30 dollars per tonne of carbon dioxide. He says fuel prices will increase by about five to seven cents a litre.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard wants to introduce a carbon tax in 2012 to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are the highest in the OECD.

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