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Carbon tax last straw for trucking industry demanding answers

A union heavy who helped install Julia Gillard as prime minister now threatens to turn against her not because of her backflip on a carbon tax, but a backdown on supporting mandated rates of pay for truck drivers.

To those who’ve worked in and for the transport industry — I spent more than six years reporting on the sector — the comments from Transport Workers Union boss Tony Sheldon in media yesterday and today are like a broken record. Just like the threat of blockades and go-slows and civil disobedience — attempts in the recent past have failed; truck operators never show up because they’re too busy trying to make a buck.

But with the government’s carbon tax, and the likely impact on fuel costs, Sheldon has a new spin for journalists and a larger wedge for the government in taking on clients — led by the big two supermarket chains, the union’s biggest enemies — that screw down contract rates and put owner-drivers and truck operators at risk. The union boss confirmed to Crikey this morning he will campaign against a carbon tax if Gillard doesn’t keep her promise on industry support.

Her vow first came two years ago at an ACTU conference in Brisbane — truck drivers “shouldn’t have to die to make a living”, Gillard declared as workplace relations minister, “and we will be working on safe rates to prevent them from having to take that risk”.

The idea of government intervention into a commercial marketplace was unprecedented in many ways and alarmed employer groups, but the stance was backed by numerous reports over many years, the latest from the National Transport Commission in 2008 which found “economic factors create an incentive for truck drivers to drive fast, work long hours and use illicit substances to stay awake”. Poor pay causes road deaths.

Sheldon, an ALP Right powerbroker and long-time TWU boss, rejoiced at the commitment and spoke loudly on the advisory body set up by the government; union figures continued their trick of dragging out coffins and crosses at protests to indicate the number of drivers who continue to die under pressure from bosses and clients — almost 300 last year, they say. A discussion paper was released, backed by parliamentary secretary Jacinta Collins, industry was consulted, and ministers from Mark Arbib to Anthony Albanese appeared to back the cause. This time last year Gillard spoke of the “compelling case” for action.

But there’s been no action. Legislation hasn’t been drafted, Sheldon told Crikey, citing “constant bureaucratic stumbling blocks in actually implementing client accountability and safe rates”. Gillard’s office didn’t respond to questions on a timetable or whether the government remains committed to enforcing contract rates.

The carbon tax promises to drive even more complexity — and ultimately higher costs — into fuel tax arrangements for the industry. While Gillard has declared ordinary motorists and “light commercial vehicles” will be compensated for the impact of the tax at the bowser, trucks (vehicles over 4.5 tonnes) are set to pay. Industry believes the government will reduce the tax rebate operators receive on diesel fuel which will push costs up to 7 cents per litre higher.

And there are fears the tax could distort the freight task. As trucking industry lobbyist Philip Halton told Australasian Transport News today, shielding vans and light trucks from the tax will provide incentive for operators to ditch their more efficient trucks for smaller vehicles — resulting in even higher emissions. The highly-contentious issue of road user charges, which the Productivity Commission will examine in a government concession to the Greens, add another layer of complexity and debate.

Higher costs — and the industry has battled rising oil barrel prices for years — are not a problem in themselves. The challenge for truck operators — by some calculations the biggest contributor to GDP, ahead of mining and manufacturing — is in recovering their costs from prime contractors. Coles and Woolworths (and others) want to sell bread for cheaper, they squeeze contractors like transport suppliers harder to maintain profits and those businesses demand greater productivity from their sub-contractor and owner-driver workforce. And as everyone in a cut-throat sector knows, there’ll always be someone who will do it for less.

Sheldon insists he’s “not a climate skeptic”. But as he told Crikey today: ”I’m going to campaign against any tax, any arrangement and any failure by this government to deliver safe rates… I will campaign against any tax that will kill more people on our roads.”

Even if that means embarrassing a government already under pressure to deliver climate change policy? “The government has to take responsibility for the decisions it makes,” he said. “They [Labor] put all their eggs in one basket in regards to a carbon tax and a carbon trading scheme. They’ve managed to isolate their traditional constituency.”

Higher costs in transport services impact businesses up the supply chain and customers down the chain. As Queensland trucking operator Darren Nolan of Nolans Transport told us today: “Heavy vehicles already pay significant costs, and registration fees have gone up. Any costs we incur will have to be passed on to consumers, which means you’ll have to pay more for your groceries.

From a company perspective we are significantly concerned, and I’m concerned one, from a company financial perspective, and two, on the impact it will have on our customers and growers who are already trying to recover from natural disasters. We pay significant registration costs to supply food and goods to the nation. The more we have to pay the more our consumers and customers will have to pay, simple as that.”

A carbon tax also hikes compliance costs in an industry already strangled by red tape. “Don’t forget the administrative burden that comes with this because someone would have to calculate the emissions and usage,” Nolan said. “Someone would have to be paid to do that; there is more than a significant administrative burden.”

So does the transport industry deserve compensation like other sectors? Not necessarily, long-time sub-contractor and industry representative Rod Hannifey says — “we just need people to understand that it costs”.

It becomes an inflationary thing: wages will go up, the cost of goods will go up, and the cost of doing business will go up,” he said. “We have a problem now that the bigger companies want their prices lower tomorrow than they want it today.”

The largest and smartest transport operators have made great strides in reducing their fuel use through hybrid engines and aerodynamic savings (the design of rigs can have an enormous impact on efficiency). Previous government regulations mean trucks run the cleanest engines on the road. But smaller operators don’t have the financial support to invest in greener technologies.

Frank Black, the owner-driver representative to the Australian Trucking Association, said: “People in the industry are always looking to be emissions friendly, they’re always looking to upgrade to better equipment, but it costs to upgrade, and more tax makes that hard.”

To transport industry players the arguments on costs and clients are as old as time. In a carbon-constrained world, the government may now have to address them.

*Additional reporting from Crikey interns Andrew Duffy and Lawrence Bull

32
  • 1
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    I am struggling to identify the problem. The price of fuel goes up because the price of crude goes up, the value of the Australian dollar falls, or whatever. Truckies pay higher fuel bills and pass that on to their clients. The price of fuel goes up because the Government cuts a tax rebate that should never have been introduced, truckies pay higher fuel bills and pass that on to their clients. What’s the difference and what’s the problem?

  • 2
    DanD
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Gavin: I think it a lot of cases the truckies are locked into medium-to-long term contracts (with people like woolies and coles) in which they can’t change the price and thus have to wear the loss of income themselves, or take shortcuts (both figuratively and literally) to reduce their costs and then things start getting dangerous.

  • 3
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Maybe, but truckies lose money on their long term contracts whether fuel prices go up because the price of crude goes up or because they no longer get a tax rebate: I am still struggling to find the difference.

  • 4
    JamesH
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    How on earth is government intervention in the marketplace “unprecedented”? They do it all the time. In a mixed capitalist economy, it is basically their raison d’etre.

  • 5
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    another layer of complexity and debate”

    Understatement.

    The “carbon” tax has escaped scrutiny so far because the details haven’t been released. Trucking is just one example of unintended, unpredictable and (to use Sen. Milne’s word today)” “perverse” effects. A bureaucratic nightmare- requiring an expanded bureaucracy.

    The Govt. now says that from Sunday it’ll be “explaining” the tax. We’ve been told that the “scare campaigns” are just that, the “sky won’t fall in” and similar banalities.

    Fact is people will then have the Devil’s address: in the detail. The government will sink further.

    The hubris of the Greens (“we’ll replace Labour”) is counterproductive. The Greens are driving the climate extremism which has created this shambles. The Higgins and Bradfield byelections were the first reality check (and certainly fooled Crikey). Far from transcending Labour, the Greens will lose some ground.

    Even the Oracle of the Obvious, Paul Kelly, has finally pontificated on the central fraud of the carbon tax: renewables-

    This [Productivity Commission] report is an assault on the inefficiency and inequity of schemes that directly subsidise renewables. It estimates that for Australia in 2010 the combined impact of the Renewable Energy Target and solar PV subsidies equated to $149 million-$194m. If you believe in fiscal responsibility and consumer fairness you must wind-back the long sanctified and hugely inefficient renewable-energy policies designed to milk votes via gesture politics.”

    Kelly seems not yet to have grasped that renewables are not simply subsidised, they either don’t work (wind) or are not ready (all the rest).

    But we all know the carbon tax is “gesture politics”. It cannot affect climate at all.

    All a gift to the Right.

  • 6
    Bellistner
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    And there are fears the tax could distort the freight task. As trucking industry lobbyist Philip Halton told Australasian Transport News today, shielding vans and light trucks from the tax will provide incentive for operators to ditch their more efficient trucks for smaller vehicles — resulting in even higher emissions.

    So what’s he saying? Companies will trade in 10-tonne Hinos in favour of Econovans, and pay more in wages than they could ever hope to save in fuel? In order to avoid 7c/L tax, truck owners will drive less efficient vehicles?
    The trucking industry already gets plenty in government handouts. They don’t pay the full cost of the roads they drive on, but freight going by rail has to pay the full cost of the railway (unless owned by the ARTC, in which case there’s a very slight under-charging of GTKM).

    Any costs we incur will have to be passed on to consumers, which means you’ll have to pay more for your groceries.

    I’d have to go back and check my figures from an earlier debate on another forum, but I think the added cost on a typical truckload of food to your local Woolies is in the order single dollar figures.

  • 7
    Liz45
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Why don’t they wait until they hear the facts before going off over nothing! It’s just ridiculous. Nobody wants to do anything - no personal sacrifices, nothing! I’m getting sick of listening to selfish people who don’t give a damn about the kids of tomorrow. We’ve used up their ‘supply’ of fresh air and have polluted and destroyed - it’s time to ‘pay back the bank’ for what we’ve used.

    We’ve had at least 10 years to start introducing non-polluting methods of energy use, and selfishly didn’t. those who’ve raped our lands and taken our resources resulting in gross profits to a few, whose selfishness and greed is mind boggling are the loudest whiners. Too depressing for words! I don’t even want to engage in a discussion any more. I just can’t believe that people don’t give a hoot about their future grand kids.

    We’re seeing a great increase in whales this year. If the oceans become more acidic or the temperature rises by just 1%, will the krill survive? And if not, the baleen whales will die too. I just get angry and depressed. I’m on a pension and don’t mind contributing to the future - I want my grandkids to have a world to live in, not one that’s f****d!

    As for food? I’ll just pull out the proverbial and start growing my own vegies! I’ve been talking long enough, now I’ll start doing!We could all do this - even in white broccoli boxes?

  • 8
    michael crook
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Te concern here is that, despite promises, the ALP government has not improved the safety and/or working conditions of Australia’s truck drivers. This is supposed to be why the ALP exists, and yet they are not delivering. Can it be that none of them have a f….. clue what the life of working people is actually like?

  • 9
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    @ michael crook

    I agree that failing to improve truckies’ safety and working conditions is a problem. But I don’t think it helps to try to relate that to a carbon price: it distracts from the safety issue and makes truckies look like all the others trying to get a special handout.

  • 10
    Malcolm Street
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Gavin - indeed. Where have the protests been over the last couple of years while the price of fuel has skyrocketed? Why only now over a carbon price the effect of which will be far less?

  • 11
    David Allen
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Move heavy freight to electric rail powered by renewables. That’s the purpose of a carbon price. Bring it on!

    Less pollution, less carnage, better roads and cheaper freight. The trucking companies can be responsible for delivering freight from railhead to consumers in light electric powered short range vehicles - no loss of emplyment and less arduous work.

    The stores will be gone as we’ll all be ordering online.

    It’s called ‘the future’

  • 12
    Bo Gainsbourg
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I see that the truckies are estimating around 300 people per year could be killed because of the poor pay structure leading to dangerous driving. I have no doubt that that could be the case, we all know about the way that industry works, its a shocker propped up by ruthless employers and craven politicians. What I’m puzzling over is that I’m looking in vain for anyone in the coalition, or the media for that matter to start calling this a scandal a-la the insulation deaths. Weren’t they a fraction of this figure? Or is it because that would involve holding large employers to account and we don’t do that in Australia. We need a carbon tax desperately, we need to shift freight more on to rail. We can support truckies and support strong action on carbon, lets not stuff up the beginning of the most important reform we and our kids all need for our future. Including truckies kids. I note that this story absolutely proves that the interest of the Australian, other media and the coalition in the insulation deaths was utterly hypocritical. Shame shame shame.

  • 13
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    David Allen goes: (worth repeating in full)

    Move heavy freight to electric rail powered by renewables. That’s the purpose of a carbon price. Bring it on!
    Less pollution, less carnage, better roads and cheaper freight. The trucking companies can be responsible for delivering freight from railhead to consumers in light electric powered short range vehicles - no loss of emplyment and less arduous work.
    The stores will be gone as we’ll all be ordering online.
    It’s called ‘the future’”

    It’s actually called several things: not the near future, fantasy, fraud.

    No existing renewable technology delivers baseload power. The premature solar plants announced last week by Gillard underline the point- absurdly expensive and they require fossil fuel backup 24/7.

    Will a carbon tax drive R and D? It could up to a point, but we’re talking many billions. Billions have already been wasted on wind and domestic solar. Flannery’s geothermal mirage in the desert is another dud (look it up- Geodynamics p/l).

    A big carbon tax (such as the Greens insist on) will do considerable economic damage and (overall) inhibit renewables R and D.

    It’s also unrealistic to expect Australia to shoulder much of the R and D burden.

    David Allen’s magical unrealism will merely deliver power to the Right for a generation, so to speak. People aren’t stupid- they don’t want their lives messed with for no clear global or national benefit. They can see the shambolic mess Rudd got into and Gillard has made worse.

  • 14
    william magnusson
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    no one seems to look into the future ….electric trucks, with depots scattered along the route to replace the prime mover with a fully charged unit ..similar to the old days when they replaced the horse team at different coach houses ?? we seem to be stuck on fossil fuels.. no vision

  • 15
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    @ Liz45

    Are you on moderation?

    Presumably truckies want to try to influence the policy before it gets decided and announced. To be fair to they are following a long line of special pleaders, most of whom are far more privileged than they.

  • 16
    Malcolm Street
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Gavin - “To be fair to they are following a long line of special pleaders, most of whom are far more privileged than they.” Of course the farmers are among the first out of the block, claiming the carbon tax will raise their costs by 20%! Crikey should keep track of the most outrageous ambit claims.

  • 17
    AR
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Owner operators cut their own throat back in the 80s with their rejection of the tachograph, the soi disant “spy-in-the-cab”.
    Had they accepted it, the government would have been able to enforce safe work practices and the poor truckie with a $250K rig repayments wouldn’t have had to work 8/25 to make ends meet.
    Nose-knife-face.
    If this means that rail carriage of containers & other heavy goods between conurbations then it will be win-win-win, the roads will be safer, costs wiull be lower and truckies will only have to drive within a couple of hundred kms radius instead of Perth to Sydney.
    Only the big concerns like Linfox will be adversely affected, which breatheth mine heart not one wit.

  • 18
    Tim nash
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    300 people a year die from trucking accidents because many truck drivers drive like idiots and there trucks are in a horrible state of repair.

    The trucking industry is also totally not interested in cutting emissions, this goes right from the truckie on the ground the the managers in the transport companines. I have seen more than one truckie glow with glee at the thought of running over a ‘greenie’.

    The truck itself by definition is a Diesel consuming device, most of the logistics of driving a truck is about filling up and supplying diesel followed by ongoing mainenance.

    There is not one option out there for a low emission truck, electric or hybrid from any truck makers and you have to ask yourself why?

    Because there is ZILCH demand.

  • 19
    drsmithy
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    There is not one option out there for a low emission truck, electric or hybrid from any truck makers and you have to ask yourself why?

    Because current state of the art technology is barely capable of hauling four humans and a small car more than a few hundred kilometres at a time. Using it for something the size of a B-triple and a distance measured in thousands of kilometres doesn’t even pass the laugh test.

  • 20
    dunph
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the poor truckies, like the poor farmers are all very vocal when the news is bad, but seldom heard of when the times are good … They bellow publicly and spend privately.

    The issue for Tony Sheldon et al is simply about making more Ned Kellys into rank-and-file members!

    I love the way that unions grab the Health, Safety & Environment mantles to suit their OWN causes.

    Most truckies I know ( and it’s a few ) just want to be left alone to play on a level highway (sic) with a minimum of intervention and ALL pass on fuel imposts on a MONTHLY rise and fall formula. Dummies in all industries get screwed for fixed price / no escalation causes, and road transport is no different!

  • 21
    Harvey Tarvydas
    Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    @GAVIN MOODIE — Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 2:17 pm
    I am with you, as you and other point out carbon pricing will have an miniscule affect compared to all the other cost variables but unlike those will be stable and easily covered.
    It is also only temporary (miniscule and temporary).
     Human nature:- while sitting on a huge boil/carbuncle all attention is on the mosquito landing on ones nose in case it bites.

    @DAVID ALLEN — Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 3:50 pm
    While the carbon price will make stuff all difference to their costs it will start the development of your very accurate vision of the future and save fuel which is going to run out sooner leaving lots of little trucks around with empty tanks.

    @LIZ45 — Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 2:53 pm
    I feel for your pain. Don’t let it get you down, we are going to make the difference and you’re helping.

    @TIM NASH — Posted Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 7:13 pm
    Diminishing supply bringing on rising prices ++for fuel will sort the trucking business longevity out but the carbon price will start the process or replacements happening.

  • 22
    Bellistner
    Posted Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    There is not one option out there for a low emission truck, electric or hybrid from any truck makers and you have to ask yourself why?

    Because there is ZILCH demand.

    There’s no long-range low-emission truck, but there is a after-market mod for some trucks that allows the use of LPG/Diesel Dual Fuel. For short-range deliveries, there’s a small number of makers such as Miles Electric Vehicles, and the Port of LA is trailing an electric ‘container’ truck capable of 100km range.
    If a fleet is ‘captive’ (ie, goes from depot A to Depot B, and return), it makes planning and conversions a whole lot easier.
    My Partners’ Father does Courier driving for a living, and does probably 300km/day. That’s outside the range of a BEV at a price point most businesses are willing to pay (but doable), but if it was a Series hybrid, it’s bang on what’s needed.

  • 23
    michael crook
    Posted Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Good comment AR. Glad someone remebered that.

    Frank, I think you will find that current renewable technology is quite capable of delivering baseload power, a la Spain/Portugal. The only thing lacking here is the politcal will to do it. have a look at the BZE, or 100% renewables web pages, very informative.

  • 24
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Michael C:
    One reason Spain and Portugal are economic basket-cases is the colossal waste of capital on wind turbines.

    It’s estimated that 2.2 jobs are lost in Spain for every “wind” job created. In Australia (and no doubt elsewhere) “wind” jobs cost over $1 million each.

    And the power generated is virtually useless.

  • 25
    Charles Bryant
    Posted Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    The proposed carbon tax on what Gillard calls the ‘the big poluters” is absurd.
    It is not the producers of our electricity the cause, it is you and I and every citizen who demand the supply of electricity for our myriad electric items and we scream when that supply is interupted. New power stations are being built to supply all these ” little poluters”
    Wake up Australia and ignore the spin.
    In my life time I have witnessed the death and burial of COMMONSENCE and the birth of SPIN.
    Charles

  • 26
    Posted Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Of course power generators will pass on the carbon tax to their customers, which makes their screams for compensation illogical - perhaps another form of spin.

  • 27
    Liz45
    Posted Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    @GAVI{N - Sometimes I wish I was under a general anaesthetic - then all the bs could just carry on without me knowing about it. I just get fed up with the rubbish, the selfishness is mindblowing! Wait until it all goes pear shaped? Those who are screaming now will be the loudest whiners when the Barrier Reef is permanently stuffed! Or the great whales start to die from starvation! The Fishers and Shooters Party (NSW)will whine that fish stocks are down and getting worse. Doesn’t anybody care, that if the oceans’ temps keep rising, even a little bit, no more fish - can’t reproduce if temps rise?

    Thanks Harvey! (On a happier note - My self sewn wattle tree is in bloom - and the fragrance is beautiful. I don’t even know what type it is, but it has those lemon ‘fluffy’ flowers - drop dead gorgeous! The foliage is fine almost like a ‘fern’. I hope it’s not one that has a short life span - another self sewn one has croaked? Maybe too much rain? My only complaint is that it’s now so tall I can’t take a good photo of it. Being a shrimp myself doesn’t help. Standing on a step ladder to clean the top of my car is one thing, doing the same to take a photo might scare the neighbours - lost the plot scenario, lol) I’m looking forward to the PM’s Address on Sunday, and am hopeful that it will be positive. The hysteria and bs is just tiring now!

    My niece’s ex husband was/is a truck driver. He believed (haven’t spoken to him for several years) that the taking of drugs is widespread among truckies, whether they’re ‘no doze’ type drugs or others I don’t know, but the way some of them drive it doesn’t surprise me? I also believe that a lot of drivers are off duty police officers? How true that is, again I don’t know. However, to be fair, I’ve also met truck drivers who’ve been very kind and helpful on the road. In March I drove to Newcastle, and on the highways it wasn’t uncommon for trucks to overtake me, while I was doing 110? I thought they were limited to 100 max? I’ve never been tail gated etc but I’d just pull over and let them go - rather they’re in front of me than ‘in my boot’?

    The NSW Labor Govt cut back on all or a lot of petrol transported by rail - the savings were small? At the time it was asserted that there’d be more accidents involving tankers and cars, and there have been - one in Canberra prior to xmas ‘09 or ‘10 and one near Katoomba I think. Both involved the deaths of all concerned. The Canberra accident involved the truck driver, and a family of 5 - two parents, 3 kids, little kids, one only a baby - all incinerated! There has probably been more.

    There’s been a campaign for almost 15? years for a rail line from the Port Kemble wharf over the mountain. X number state and federal govts just talk about it, but nothing has been done. I think it just needs to be completed. I wonder if the truck manufacturers, petrol companies etc have played a role in it being fobbed off, year after year. That would take a lot of trucks off the road, including those that take new cars from Port Kembla back to Sydney? Provided more jobs on the wharves, but now we have more trucks on the roads, causing road surface damage too! Oh dear! (sigh)

    @MICHAEL CROOK - Indeed!

  • 28
    GlenTurner1
    Posted Sunday, 10 July 2011 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    …shielding vans and light trucks from the tax will provide incentive for operators to ditch their more efficient trucks for smaller vehicles”

    The move to lighter transport vehicles in urban areas is going to happen anyway. The age of trucking companies getting away with running vehicles which are massively incompatible with other road and footpath users is ending.

    If a carbon tax was present on lighter vehicles this would accelerate the removal of heavy vehicles. People would trade down kilometers traveled in their 4WD to do some travel in more efficient vehicles: scooters, bicycles, shoes. That would increase incompatibility of heavy trucks even more, leading to a peak in deaths, and bringing the use of heavy vehicles in urban areas to a more abrupt end.

  • 29
    galeg
    Posted Monday, 11 July 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Hands up all who are going to do the right action of locking their car in the garage and taking a bus too do their weekly shopping, pick up the kids from school, walk the Kms to the nearest rail station. Sorry there is an alternative, and that is to dust off the old pushy in the back shed and use that.

    What a waste of time,
    a. Increased business costs will be passed to the consumers
    b. The Feds compensate the consumers

    Why should I change my life style?

    For renewables, who in their right mind would invest in them when, unless all businesses and the vast majority of the general public accept the tax, nothing will be achieved, and the tax scrubbed / rolled back by the next Gov. Obviously any money invested would then be lost. This does not hold for Gov investment as they seem to screw up everything anyway.

  • 30
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 12 July 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Hope the Union gouges her policy and in public.

  • 31
    Liz45
    Posted Tuesday, 12 July 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    @GALEG -What a waste of time,
    a. Increased business costs will be passed to the consumers
    b. The Feds compensate the consumers

    Why should I change my life style?

    Find ways to save energy etc; grow some of your own food etc.
    Pocket the savings!

    @SUZANNE BLAKE - The union, like others shot their mouths off before they heard or examined the whole deal. I hope the Union, like other Australians will stop being so bloody selfish. This, ‘what about me’? boo hoo is driving me nuts. If I as a pensioner can do all that I can to help lower carbon pollution, why can’t those on higher incomes get off their bums? Sick of the bs; bowing out of the debate. I’ll wait until next year and see what transpires.My place is really cold in winter, and I don’t want the heater on all day, so I purchased some really thick tracky pants, wear warm things on top, with a thick dressing gown over the top if needs be(I made that and others myself?)

    Interesting how a company or two are so convinced in the future of coal mining that they’re willing to spend almost $5 billion to buy another company? so much for Abbott’s lies! Mind you, I’d like coal to be phased out and renewables introduced in its place. Good for the environment, good for our health! Ask asthmatics how they feel about pollution? Ever seen a baby with asthma? Or a toddler? Horrific!

  • 32
    Bellistner
    Posted Wednesday, 27 July 2011 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    galeg said:

    Hands up all who are going to do the right action of locking their car in the garage and taking a bus too do their weekly shopping, pick up the kids from school, walk the Kms to the nearest rail station. Sorry there is an alternative, and that is to dust off the old pushy in the back shed and use that.

    I haven’t started my car in over two months.

    Why should I change my life style?

    So don’t. You’ll just have to pay for your little luxuries.

    I see the Oz has a front-page ‘story today about the TWU “joining business” to hack away at the Government.

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