Industry association NatRoad says the Clean Transport Fund figures add up, claiming the proposed $3.5 billion cost as “reasonable and proportionate” to what it is trying to achieve.
After the release of an industry white paper last week, which details the path to moving towards decarbonisation in the transport industry, NatRoad called upon the government to commit to investment for the fund.
This would be in addition to the current Driving the Nation fund, which has currently committed $500 million to decarbonise road transport emissions.
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark believes this is a necessary move to bring the industry closer to truly beginning its path to zero emissions.
“This is a shared national problem, so it requires a shared national response,” he says.
“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.”
The RUC was recently altered to increase over the coming years. Between the 2023-24 and 2025-26 financial years, it will be raised by an annual six per cent.
In proposing the Clean Transport Fund, NatRoad says it should use the existing Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) financing model as a basis for its implementation.
The CEFC has received $30.5 billion in investment funding from the federal government, which is being put towards its various clean industry projects and special investment programs.
“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,” Clark says.
“The road transport industry can’t go it alone and that’s why NatRoad is asking for a hand-up, not a hand-out.”
Grattan Institute estimates say 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.