NatRoad Media Release: Clean Transport Fund size is reasonable while RUC reaps an extra $1.1 billion 

decarbonisation road transport NatRoad

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The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) says the $3.5 billion cost of its proposed Clean Transport Fund to kick-start heavy vehicle decarbonisation is “reasonable and proportionate”. 

NatRoad Chief Executive Officer Warren Clark, said the organisation had been heartened by the positive reception for its industry White Paper, released last week. 

Its centrepiece is the Clean Transport Fund which would use a mix of loans and $1 billion in incentives to help heavy vehicle operators move to low or zero emission vehicles.  

It would subsume the existing $500 million Driving the Nation Fund, which is currently focused on light vehicles and a handful of demonstration projects for heavy vehicles. 

“This is a shared national problem, so it requires a shared national response,” Mr Clark said. 

“The Fund’s scale is modest when you consider the increase in the Road User Charge (RUC), and decrease in Fuel Tax Credits, meaning our sector is contributing an extra $1.1 billion in revenue to Federal Government coffers over the budget forward estimates. 

“The Fund may not be sufficient in the long term, but right now it represents a reasonable and proportionate initial investment to drive down emissions and accelerate the take-up of low emissions solutions. 

Mr Clark said the Fund would use the existing Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) financing model as a successful market-focused mechanism for attracting private sector investment in green technology. 

Budget papers show the CEFC has attracted $2.82 in private sector capital for every $1 it has invested. 

“The proof is in the Federal Government’s own numbers – they show an investment commitment of $12.7 billion has unlocked a total transaction value of $48.8 billion,” Mr Clark said. 

The Grattan Institute says the public benefits from accelerating the uptake of zero emission trucks will be approximately $4.2 billion but the cost to business would be $9.6 billion. 

“The road transport industry can’t go it alone and that’s why NatRoad is asking for a hand-up, not a hand-out,” Mr Clark said. 

NatRoad will work towards the establishment of a new forum in 2024 to build collaboration between industry and government for the decarbonisation of Australian road freight transportation. 

Australia has legislated economy-wide emission reduction targets of 43 percent by 2030 and net zero by 2050. 

See white paper here.