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Carbon tax to impact trucking industry: Truss

Beef Central, 29/09/2011

MORE than 100,000 businesses that use diesel or petrol will cop the brunt of the carbon tax, according to Nationals leader Warren Truss.

In a press release issued yesterday afternoon Mr Truss said Australia’s 47,000 trucking businesses and 60,000 other businesses that rely on fuel and the bus industry will pay under the new tax regime.

Under the carbon tax, the fuel tax credits scheme for heavy vehicles will be reduced by almost 7 cents per litre from 1 July 2014.

Mr Truss said the Australian Trucking Association's submission to the Joint Select Committee examining the carbon tax highlighted its likely impact on the sector.

“The Australian Government has stated that carbon pricing will only affect around 500 polluters,” the ATA submission said.

“But the planned changes to the fuel tax credits system will impose an effective carbon price on every one of Australia’s 47,000 trucking businesses.

“85 per cent of these businesses are small businesses with fewer than five employees.

“They are no different to the other small businesses that are permanently exempt from the carbon price, except they happen to operate trucks weighing more than 4.5 tonnes.’ (See page 3)

Mr Truss said the Minerals Council of Australia’s submission showed that the carbon price on fuel wouldl apply to more than 60,000 businesses from 1 July 2012, among them tens of thousands of small businesses, covering 22,500 in construction; 5,350 in manufacturing; 5,305 businesses in retail and wholesale trades; thousands of tourism operators, including accommodation and food service businesses; 1,500 mining operations; several hospitals and large healthcare providers; and 775 education and training sector bodies.

The Bus Industry Confederation said it anticipated that the carbon price and Road User Charge would increase the cost of fuel for bus operations by more than 9 cents per litre by 2016.

Professor Stanley of the University of Sydney anticipated an increase of more than $40 million per year in operating costs as a result of the imposition of the carbon price on buses.

“When factored into a five-year rolling plan for State Governments this is an added increase in operating costs of bus public transport of more than $200 million, which will need to be recouped from users or made budget neutral through reduced spending on new and more vehicles in the fleet and worse still a reduction to existing services and no new services,” the  Bus Industry Confederation said in its submission.

Mr Truss described the carbon tax as “a rolling attack on the transport sector, slugging businesses – big and small – and inflicting mass casualties on the Australian jobs they support.”

“But, clearly, it’s also a tax on families. With the bulk of goods transported around this country coming via on-road freight, families will inevitably feel the squeeze as those higher running costs hit the tills at checkouts.

“Bizarrely, bus fares will also increase while some services may disappear altogether. This will see passengers replaced by more private vehicles on the road, which is counter-intuitive to the desire to curb emissions.

“These reverberations will be most severe in regional areas, where families, businesses and entire communities will carry a disproportionately higher burden.”

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