THE Allan government’s proposed carbon tax on trucks moving through the Port of Melbourne is unlikely to have the desired effect according to Container Transport Alliance Australia.
Jacinta Allan’s Labor government is set to hit trucks with a tiered tax of at least $100 per container, based on a vehicle’s age and carbon emissions, to help fund the Port Rail Shuttle Network project.
Container Transport Alliance Australia director Neil Chambers doubted the plan.
“They’re conflating two issues,” Mr Chambers said.
“We understand the government has policy objectives but we’re not sure that the implementation of a truck tax will influence the behaviour of transport operators to move toward more fuel efficient and emission-friendly vehicles.
“The tax would just be a passed through to importers and exporters and that will just raise the cost of doing business through the Port of Melbourne.”
The Victorian government has a net zero emissions policy by 2045 and one big component of that will be freight movements.
“They seem to be dressing up the truck tax in sustainably clothes,” Mr Chambers said.
“To us, it seems like they’re putting lipstick on a pig.
“It’s effectively taxing one efficient mode of transport to provide revenue for the rail rebate.”
The proposed tax will almost certainly be passed on to consumers and farmers and Shadow Minister for ports and freight Roma Britnell said Labor must rule it out.
“This ludicrous approach by Labor will raise the cost of freight on roads, costing Victorians more for goods,” Ms Britnell said.
“Instead of making rail more competitive by investing in it, this will simply make road freight more expensive and is no solution to Labor’s long neglect of Victoria’s rail freight network.”
Mr Chambers wanted to see the official details of the government’s proposed plans.
“In terms of the rail rebate, we haven’t got enough information about how it will be administered and who would receive the rebate,” Mr Chambers said.
“So, it’s difficult to have an opinion of whether the rebate will achieve modal shift.
“There’s no capacity in the rail at the moment and even if in their wildest dreams they got 20% of urban containers moving to and from the port on rail, that would still leave 80% of the movement on road.”
Ports and freight minister Melissa Horne’s office said: “we’ve invested over a quarter of a billion dollars to support rail freight, so operators can run heavier and faster trains more often, while reducing emissions and congestion around the port.
“The DTP is examining further options to boost our rail freight network and get more heavy trucks off our roads, and we will continue to work closely with industry to determine which policy settings are most appropriate.”