Truck builders call for purchase incentive

Sluggish sales show the need for government help in renewing Australia’s old fleet, the Truck Industry Council says.

Truck builders call for purchase incentive
The TIC wants the Federal Government to give operators a financial incentive to upgrade their trucks.


Australia’s truck suppliers are lobbying the Federal Government to help operators upgrade to newer trucks.

At almost 14 years, the average Australian truck is much older than those in other developed countries – and getting older.

The manufacturers say this is having major negative impacts on air quality, safety and productivity.

They say a voluntary renewal program could save both the health system and trucking operators billions of dollars over a decade.

The Truck Industry Council (TIC) – representing the major truck brands and component suppliers – wants the Government to introduce a new investment allowance as an incentive for operators to upgrade.

This did not appear in the recent federal budget but TIC CEO Tony McMullan says the Council is not giving up.

"We will continue to develop the truck plan and it will be presented for budget consideration again next year, and the year after if it’s not endorsed, and the year after that," McMullan says.

"We will maintain this focus because there are serious implications from the ageing of the Australian truck fleet."

Amongst several possible ways of paying for the investment allowance, the TIC suggests the Government consider a stepped fuel excise rebate depending on the age of the truck.

Official new truck sales data shows a sluggish start to 2014, once again way behind what now seems like a golden era before the global financial crisis hit.

In April overall sales were down 7 per cent compared with the same time last year, with only the large commercial van category recording growth.

The TIC is concerned that while the economy is growing, new truck sales are not.

The Council has been promoting its truck plan to federal governments for a couple of years now.

The latest version of the plan was written in July last year and runs to 60 pages.

It estimates that more than 200,000 units – or almost 40 per cent of the trucks in Australia -- were built before 1996, when emissions regulations first came in.

Before 1995 there was no pollution control gear on trucks at all, then in 1995 some of them got it.

In big cities, old trucks are a major contributor to air pollution. The TIC says the main culprits are medium-duty rigids and old prime movers retired from linehaul work.

One of their main pollutants is particulate matter (PM), or soot. Even if well-maintained, a pre-96 truck emits 60 times the particulates of a truck built since 2007.

For the full feature on the TIC truck plan check out the June issue of Owner//Driver. Click here to secure your copy today.

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