Transport groups call for incentives for alternative fuel vehicles

Freight NSW (RFNSW), Western Roads Federation (WRF), NT Road Transport Association (NTRTA) and the

Australia’s leading Road Transport Associations have joined forces to call on Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to incentivise trucking operators to cost-effectively transition to alternative fuel vehicles (AFV).

Road Freight NSW (RFNSW), Western Roads Federation (WRF), NT Road Transport Association (NTRTA) and the Tasmanian Transport Association (TTA) say there must be greater support for industry, with low-emissions freight financing and other commercial incentives, to ensure that truck decarbonisation will be economically viable.

The call follows a Report by post-graduate logistics researcher Samson Fu, under the guidance of Elizabeth Jackson, Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management Curtin University, Western Australia, which investigated industry’s perspectives on achieving the effective and effective use of AFVs, and the role of Governments in fostering the pathway to Net Zero 2050.

Mr Fu said decarbonisation would be ‘challenging’ for industry but ‘essential, because a low and zero carbon future arrive soon’.

“To achieve the target set by the Government, incentives and a clear roadmap from the Government to foster the adoption of AFVs are crucial for logistics operators,” he said.

WRF Chief Executive Operator, Cam Dumesny, said it was imperative that Governments consult with transport operators, as the transition to AFVs would need financial support as well as a raft of technological, system design and cultural changes across industry.

“Our Governments need to ask transport fleet operators what initiatives are needed to foster the move to AFVs. The fact is, no one has ever asked them,” Mr Dumesny explained.

“The effective transition of our industry to alternative fuels will only occur when its commercially advantageous to do so. Fundamentally, transport fleet operators will buy AFVs when they can get a commercial advantage over using ICE. So, it is essential to know what our industry actually thinks are the barriers to AFV becoming a commercial advantage.”

RFNSW Chief Executive Officer, Simon O’Hara said the majority of its members ‘simply couldn’t afford’ to decarbonise their fleets and cost-effectively transition to alternative fuels such as EV, hydrogen and CNG.

“As an industry, we are committed to helping achieve Australia’s ambitious Net Zero target. But it’s just not viable for operators, given the current cost-of-living pressures, increased operational costs and the series of barriers they’re facing in switching to low emissions transport technologies,” Mr O’Hara said.

“Governments must invest in a clean energy future, by providing targeted support in the form of freight-financing and direct incentives – our members have told us they’ll only be in a position to switch to AFVs, if they are commercially viable.”

NTRTA Executive Officer Louise Bilato warned that alternative, low emission fuels would add to escalating cost-of-living pressures throughout the country’s rural, regional and remote communities.

“Realistically, decarbonisation of the freight task across remote Australia will be achieved by increased access for higher productivity vehicles well into the next decade, whilst engineering solutions to address the tyranny of distance catch up,” Ms Bilato said.

“If alternative fuels are not price competitive then Australia’s most remote and vulnerable communities face paying outrageously for food and basics and that is neither sustainable nor equitable.”

TTA Executive Director Michelle Harwood said under Tasmania’s climate change Legislation, the transport industry was a key focus for emissions reduction action and was developing the first industry specific emissions reduction and resilience plan in the State.

“Our capacity to support Tasmania’s net zero status now and into the future depends on a clear transition plan that acknowledges the nature of the transport task, the realistic alternate fuel options available for adoption, and the economic impacts of increased costs of alternate and low emissions transport services,” Ms Harwood explained.

“As an island state, efficient freight movements to, from, and within Tasmania are essential to Tasmanian communities, businesses, and to the Tasmanian economy.”

The Road Transport Associations say they stand ready to collaborate with Governments at all levels, as well as their supply chain partners, to ensure the efficient roll-out of regulations, policies and technology timeframes, so their members can effectively adopt AFVs.

/Public Release.