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Transport associations lobby government for alternative fuel incentives

alternative fuel

A group comprising four of Australia’s leading transport associations have united to call on federal, state and territory governments to incentivise trucking operators to transition to alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs).

This includes Road Freight NSW (RFNSW), Western Roads Federation (WRF), NT Road Transport Association (NTRTA) and the Tasmanian Transport Association (TTA), say there must be greater support for industry, with low-emissions freight financing and other commercial incentives to ensure that truck decarbonisation will be economically viable.

The combined call follows a recent report from logistics researcher Samson Fu that investigated the industry’s perspectives on achieving the effective use of alternative fuel vehicles.

Fu says decarbonisation would be challenging for industry but essential due to the need for a low and zero carbon future.

“To achieve the target set by the government, incentives and a clear roadmap from the government to foster the adoption of AFVs are crucial for logistics operators,” Fu says.

WRF CEO Cam Dumesny says it’s imperative that governments consult with transport operators, as the transition to AFVs would need financial support as well as a raft of technological, system design and cultural changes across industry.

“Our governments need to ask transport fleet operators what initiatives are needed to foster the move to AFVs. The fact is, no one has ever asked them,” Dumesny says.

“The effective transition of our industry to alternative fuels will only occur when its commercially advantageous to do so. Fundamentally, transport fleet operators will buy AFVs when they can get a commercial advantage over using ICE. So, it is essential to know what our industry actually thinks are the barriers to AFV becoming a commercial advantage.”

RFNSW CEO Simon O’Hara says the majority of its members “simply couldn’t afford” to decarbonise their fleets and cost-effectively transition to alternative fuels such as EV, hydrogen and CNG.

“As an industry, we are committed to helping achieve Australia’s ambitious Net Zero target. But it’s just not viable for operators, given the current cost-of-living pressures, increased operational costs and the series of barriers they’re facing in switching to low emissions transport technologies,” O’Hara says.

“Governments must invest in a clean energy future, by providing targeted support in the form of freight-financing and direct incentives – our members have told us they’ll only be in a position to switch to AFVs, if they are commercially viable.”

NTRTA executive officer Louise Bilato warned that alternative, low emission fuels would add to escalating cost-of-living pressures throughout the country’s rural, regional and remote communities.

“Realistically, decarbonisation of the freight task across remote Australia will be achieved by increased access for higher productivity vehicles well into the next decade, while engineering solutions to address the tyranny of distance catch up,” Bilato says.

“If alternative fuels are not price competitive, then Australia’s most remote and vulnerable communities face paying outrageously for food and basics and that is neither sustainable nor equitable.”

TTA executive director Michelle Harwood says under Tasmania’s climate change legislation, the transport industry was a key focus for emissions reduction action and was developing the first industry specific emissions reduction and resilience plan in the state.

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