Opposition slams 'mishmash emissions trading scheme

By: Jason Whittaker

The Rudd Government’s emissions trading proposal has been labelled a "mishmash of inconsistencies" that will leave large sectors of the

The Rudd Government’s emissions trading proposal has been labelled a "mishmash of inconsistencies" that will leave large sectors of the transport industry worse off.

Opposition spokesman on transport Warren Truss says the rail, shipping and aviation industries will be slugged with increased taxes come 2010 because the Government wants them excluded from the plan to freeze the diesel excise.

In its discussion paper released last week, the Government proposed reducing the fuel excise by one cent for every one cent rise in fuel under emissions trading.

However, it only wants this extended to motorists for three years and the heavy vehicle industry for one year.

"If you put a container on a diesel truck from Melbourne to Sydney, Labor says you will effectively get an ETS exemption for a year. But if you put it on a coastal ship you won’t—unless the ship is on an international voyage," Truss says.

Furthermore, he says public transport commuters will be slugged with higher fees because electric passenger rail services will need to pay new taxes, as will those who fly to domestic locations.

Truss has also criticised the Government’s stance on coastal shipping, questioning the logic of compensating foreign-flagged vessels but taxing local ones.

"It is this mishmash of inconsistencies that could actually see greenhouse emissions rise than reduce them," Truss says.

"This defies logic and commonsense; this is amateur hour performance from Labor."

While saying the Coalition supports an emissions trading scheme, Truss says the Rudd Government’s move to a greener economy has been a rush job characterised by an inability to wait for the international community to come on board.

"It is clear that Labor has made some incredible blunders in trying to rush a scheme through before doing its homework, and before the world’s major emitters have put their own plans in place," he says.

Truss’ concerns over the exclusion of certain transport sectors echo claims by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), which says the Government risks creating uncertainty in the transport and logistics industry.

ALC Chief Executive Hal Morris says industry should be given a level playing field to keep an emissions trading scheme as simple as possible.

However, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is supporting the Government’s one-year proposal for the heavy vehicle industry. ATA Chairman Trevor Martyn says it will give operators enough time to alter their cost structures and fuel levies to reflect the increase in prices that are expected to come as a result of emissions trading.

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