ATA calls for government-industry task force

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has urged the Federal Government to set up a government-industry task force to review the vehicle standards and other regulations that prevent the trucking industry from increasing its energy efficiency.

“The trucking industry is limited in its ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a series of regulatory and market barriers,” ATA Chief Executive of the Australian Stuart St Clair said.

“For example, fitting aerodynamic fairings to the rear of trailers could achieve a six to nine per cent improvement in fuel consumption. These fairings cannot be used in Australia because of the rear overhang and overall length limits on trucks.”

Elaborating on the issue, the ATA has released a submission on the Government’s plan to establish an Emissions Reductions Fund to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“The best way trucking businesses can reduce their fuel consumption is to use high productivity vehicles like B-triples or super B-doubles on appropriate routes. By using B-triples instead of semitrailers, an operator could reduce its fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 31 per cent. But progress on allowing the industry to use these safe and efficient vehicles has been slow.

“Given these barriers, our submission recommends the Government should convene a government-industry task force to review these vehicle standards and regulations.”

St Clair warned that emission reduction contracts should be issued to the firms that make the lowest compliant bids, regardless of their industry sector or geographic location.

“There is always a temptation to split government funding up between industry sectors and geographic regions, on the grounds that every industry and region should have the opportunity to participate. It certainly increases the scope for issuing local media releases,” he said.

“But the Government’s objective is to achieve a reduction target at lowest cost. Reserving chunks of the fund for specific industries or regional projects that would not otherwise be funded would just increase the average cost of the abatement that is achieved.”

He said businesses should be required to demonstrate actual greenhouse gas emission reductions to receive funding. “Businesses should not be able to claim credit for greenhouse gas emission reductions by other businesses or across industry sectors. For example, a rail operator should not be able to claim credit for reducing car travel or ‘taking trucks off the road.’

“These emission reduction estimates are invariably speculative and usually depend on the starting assumptions of the modeller. They are certainly not robust enough for a business to receive government funding under a legal contract.”

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