The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is alarmed by the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) calls for additional funds to be granted to the trucking industry for energy efficiency initiatives.
The trucking lobby has already received exemptions from the carbon tax, amounting to approximately $1 billion, and are also lobbying for permanent exemptions from any carbon price.
ARA CEO Bryan Nye said it is unbelievable that the trucking industry wants taxpayers to fund its pollution.
“We are talking about a tax on pollution and the trucking industry has already received a huge exemption that is worth more than a billion dollars,” he said.
“The rail industry supports initiatives to reduce global carbon emissions and believes the transport sector has a key role to play in reducing our carbon footprint.
“To ensure actual reductions in emissions, monies raised through the carbon tax should be reinvested in sustainable transport solutions.
The entire commercial transport sector has been subjected to the carbon tax except heavy vehicles, who have received a two year exemption.
“To put some context around this, the current carbon tax will cost rail operators more than $100 million per year whilst the more polluting trucks pay nothing,” continued Mr Nye.
“We are paying a carbon tax that will help polluters.”
The rail industry has continually stated its willingness to pay the carbon tax, if it is applied fairly across the transport sector. However, exemptions for heavy vehicles create a significant price disadvantage for the more environmentally friendly rail alternative.
“If rail is to compete with road in the freight space, we need a level playing field so we are calling for the same carbon price exemption where rail competes with road freight,” said Mr Nye.
The True Value of Rail study by Deloitte Access Economics has found that one freight train in place of trucks between Melbourne and Brisbane reduces carbon emissions by the same amount as a household of three going without electricity for 46 years.
“As well as being good for our environment, more freight travelling by rail will also reduce the amount of traffic on our roads, reducing congestion and making our roads safer,” said Nye.
“Rail is the obvious solution to congestion; one freight train takes 150 trucks off the road, providing safer roads for our commuters and reducing wear and tear on our roads.”
Under the Government’s Clean Energy Future Package, $400 million in funding is available for clean energy and energy efficiency innovations.