Mandatory emissions reporting will not faze bus industry

By: Jason Whittaker

By taking a proactive approach in regards to climate change, the bus industry is in a position to successfully adapt

By taking a proactive approach in regards to climate change, the bus industry is in a position to successfully adapt to soon-to-be-introduced environmental regulations.

Under a proposal released by the Federal Government, transport operators will be forced to report their emissions once they use more than 2.5 million litres of fuel.

While the trucking industry has voiced concern over mandatory emissions reporting, Executive Director of the Bus Industry Confederation Michael Apps says bus operators are not too worried.

He points to the industry’s Greenhouse Challenge Program as the reason why. Under the program, operators were required to keep track of emissions and report on them. As such, the industry has a fair idea of what to expect from the mandatory emissions reporting scheme due to come into effect on July 1.

"The industry is well versed on retaining the records," Apps says.

"The industry is being proactive."

He says the Greenhouse Challenge Program was a simple "input and output exercise" because data was automatically calculated. The process was simple to the point that the bus industry is using it again in its Forward Research Program.

"We have just developed an environment management system which includes voluntary greenhouse record keeping based on the model the Greenhouse Challenge Program had in place," Apps says.

As such, he has dismissed claims the mandatory reporting mechanism, whereby operators may need to report more than once depending on if they operate across borders, will burden industry with mounds of paperwork or be as complex as to create confusion.

"I don’t think it is going to affect anybody in a real economic sense," he says.

"One would have thought that if professional business keeps track of its accounts and its costs, which is a major factor whether it is a bus company or a trucking company, is not that big an exercise."

However, due to the cap set on when a company must report its emissions, there is every chance mandatory reporting may not apply to the bus industry.

"I don’t think that any bus companies will be captured by it," he says.

"We are just not that big and we don’t use that much fuel."

But should any bus operators be forced into emissions trading, Apps wants the Government to consider the level of emissions produced in the context of how many cars buses take off the road.

"They might be using a lot of fuel but they are also saving a lot of emissions because, on average, one bus takes 15 cars off the road," he says.

However, as the Government’s ‘cap and trade’ scheme is still a work in progress, Apps says the industry will need to wait and see how any form of emissions trading will impact on the bus sector.

"It’s actually quite a fuzzy area," he says.

"No-one has worked it out."

As such, Apps says the bus industry is focussing more on current issues that may impact on operators.
"I would be more worried at the moment with the heavy vehicle charges determinations going on at the NTC (National Transport Commission)."

The NTC proposes a 1.367 cents increase to the diesel excise. Apps says bus companies contracted to government agencies can just pass on an increase in running costs while the coach sector will need to decide whether to "absorb that increase or pass it on".

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