Electric vehicle, EV, New trucks, News, Zero emissions

NatRoad confident its $3.5 billion fund would kick-start industry decarbonisation

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 CEO Warren Clark said the organisation had been heartened by the positive reception for its recently released industry white paper.

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 include 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,” 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.”

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,” Clark said.

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts is currently calling for ideas to help shape its Transport and Infrastructure Net Zero Roadmap and Action Plan.

The department said the “roadmap” is one of six sector plans that will inform Australia’s economy-wide 2050 Net Zero Plan.

“It will examine the potential pathways to achieve a lower emissions future for Australia’s road, rail, maritime and aviation sectors,” said a media release announcing the callout.

“The department is making a call out for your input on the key opportunities and barriers to decarbonise the transport sector which will inform the draft Roadmap, planned for release in early 2024.”

For more information and to have your say, click here. The deadline for submissions is Friday, December 22.

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,” Clark added.

NatRoad said it 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 per cent by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

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