Govt Release Transport Net Zero Roadmap and Action Plan

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport has this week released the Transport and Infrastructure Net Zero Consultation Roadmap and Action Plan, one of the six sectoral plans the Australian Government is developing to build a Net Zero 2050 plan.

The Roadmap was previewed at HVIA’s recent TruckShowX decarbonisation summit, where Ian Porter, the Department’s First Assistant Secretary, Data, Research, Strategy and Net Zero, noted that transport is on track to become Australia’s biggest-emitting sector by 2030.

With “no natural pathway” to decarbonisation the road transport sector, Porter conceded “Government will need to help [the transport industry decarbonise]. We are going to have to find way between [Government and industry] to thread that needle.”

The Roadmap acknowledges a combination of low-emissions technology and fuels will likely be required to decarbonise the road transport sector.

It also mentions financial and regulatory incentives (such as subsidies, trials, loans) as playing a role, though it does not go into detail. There is acknowledgement that the heavy vehicle industry works on tight margins and recognises the high upfront cost of switching to a zero-emissions trucks.

What’s more, the Roadmap recognises the role mass limits, particularly the steer axle mass limit at 6.5 tonnes, play in preventing low- and zero-emissions vehicles operating in increased numbers on Australia’s roads, and indicates collaborative work between the different levels of government is being done in this space.

Furthermore, the Roadmap acknowledges width and mass limits under Australia’s Heavy Vehicle National Law present a barrier to the availability of both battery electric and hydrogen trucks in Australia.

Ian Porter, the Department’s First Assistant Secretary, Data, Research, Strategy and Net Zero, at TruckShowX

The Roadmap builds on recent Federal Budget announcements including ‘A Future Made in Australia’, specifically funding to be administered by ARENA, as well as funding for consultation on low-carbon liquid fuels.

There is also an appreciation that charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure will need to be provided to encourage investment from operators in electric trucks.

Regarding manufacturing, the Roadmap notes electrification presents Australia an opportunity to leverage the domestic manufacturing and industrial component of the net-zero transition if the right signals are set.

As HVIA members well know, multiple manufacturers in Australia are moving towards or already producing low- or zero-emissions trucks right here in Australia.

The Roadmap and Action Plan is being developed in two stages. The Consultation Roadmap is the first stage and it sets out the relevant emissions profile, decarbonisation technologies, existing government policies, challenges and opportunities, and a potential pathway to 2050.

Each potential pathway identifies where the market needs to be at intervals (short, medium and long term) for transport to contribute to the whole economy reaching net zero by 2050.

The Department is seeking feedback from industry on the potential pathways as well as the actions or policies that may need to be taken by Government to support the transport industry. HVIA’s LITE Committee will be making a submission.

If you are interested in HVIA’s work on the Roadmap, contact HVIA Chief Advocacy Officer Dr Adele Lausberg at a.lausberg@hvia.asn.au.

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