ATA carbon tax plea sparks similar call from rail

Trucking's latest push to dodge carbon tax sparks call from rail for the sector to be exempted as well

April 4, 2013

The trucking industry's latest push to dodge the carbon tax has sparked a call from the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) for the rail sector to be exempted from the scheme as well.

At the National Press Club yesterday, Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Chairman David Simon urged an election commitment from the Federal Government to drop its plans to apply the tax to trucking on July 1, 2014.

The speech sparked an immediate reaction from the rail industry, which has been paying the carbon tax since it was introduced on July 1 last year.

Arguing its transport mode is environmentally friendlier, the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) says the sector deserves a "fair go".

"Trains emit one third of the pollution of trucks and yet the rail industry is required to pay $110 million each year whilst one of Australia’s largest polluters is given a free pass," ARA CEO Bryan Nye says.

"This has created a perverse incentive where we are actually encouraging the use of a more emissions intensive transport option."

Nye argues that if $110 million was reinvested in rail instead of paid in tax, the rail industry could buy eight new freight trains and eight new passenger train sets each year, taking 13,000 trucks off roads by 2030.

"Rail has repeatedly stated its support for action on climate change but the counterintuitive penalty that rail has been slogged with is grossly unfair and highly illogical," he says.

"If carbon pricing is to be effective in reducing pollution, the disproportionate penalty applied to rail needs to be axed, not continued."

Trucking received a two-year exemption from the carbon tax on fuel when it was introduced last July, and the ATA wants it made permanent. The trucking industry will pay an extra 6.85 cents per litre for fuel once the tax is applied to it.

The ATA wants more done to encourage the use of higher productivity vehicles, such as B-triples, to accommodate a growing freight task and reduce the number of trucks on the road.

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