Plans to extend the eco-friendly carbon tax to include heavy truck operators have been met with strong resistance.
Industry lobby group the Australian Trucking Association and key independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott have argued the tax would hit rural operators hard, as most would be unable to pass on the cost.
'If fuel (for heavy road transport) was in, we were out,' Mr Oakeshott has said, referring to his support for the current scheme, which does not extend to the trucking sector. The Government, however, has made it clear it intends to apply the tax to heavy transport operators by July 2014, two years after the carbon tax commences.
Freight operators have also opposed the July 1, 2014 carbon tax introduction for heavy trucks.
The Australian Trucking Association has released a detailed environmental report outlining the industry's commitment to eco-friendly practices.
It has argued that small-to-medium sized operators - who would struggle to offset carbon tax costs - had already become more environmentally friendly. Liquid gas (LNG), better operating systems and improved driving techniques have helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Small changes such as more efficient transport routes and the use of environmental cleaning products (such as Envirosafe Solution's Diesel Bug Killer and dust suppressor) in workshops and depots have also been embraced.
The ATA's parliamentary submission called for the trucking industry to be permanently exempt from the extreme green carbon tax.
'The Australian Government has stated that carbon pricing will only affect around 500 polluters. 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,' the submission said.
'Eighty-five 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.'
Other heavy polluting sectors such as mining and rail will feel the impact of the tax from July 1 this year due to a reduction in fuel tax credit rates.
ATA chief Stuart St Clair said small rural operators would struggle to pass on the extreme green tax.
'It has been proven over the last few years as fuel prices have fluctuated. We have found it is increasingly difficult, in the advice given to us by operators across Australia, to be able to pass those costs on now. That is making it very difficult for those who operate not only in the cities but also in regional, rural and remote Australia to be able to claw back those costs,' Mr St Clair said.
Improved environmental practices from heavy polluters such as transport operators are helping to reduce environmental impacts. For more information on environmentally friendly liquids suitable for use at transport workshops and depots (including ,industrial hand cleanersand rubber remover) contact Envirosafe Solutions.