THE Australian Government should extend its planned energy efficiency information grants to help small firms improve business practices to cope with the carbon price, according to the Australian Trucking Association's submission on the draft guidelines for the Energy Efficiency Information Grants Program.
Under this $40 million program, the government will provide industry associations with grants to provide information to small and medium-sized businesses about the impact of the carbon tax and how they can reduce energy costs.
Trucking businesses will face higher costs from this July 1 when suppliers put up their prices to respond to the carbon price.
The government plans to impose the carbon price on the fuel used by trucking businesses from July 1, 2014, but the ATA will continue arguing against it.
Trucking operators will need to pass increased costs on to customers, but their ability to pass on their costs will be limited by their existing contract arrangements and lack of market power. Many trucking businesses are locked into long-term contracts.
Small trucking businesses often feel forced to accept the rates they are offered, even if the terms are unfavourable. As a result, these businesses could end up bearing an unfair carbon price burden.
As well as providing advice on energy efficiency, industry associations need to be able to provide members with advice about how to improve their business practices to cope with the carbon price. This could include guidance on best practice contracts, adjusting fuel levies and the law relating to carbon price claims.
The ATA recommends the program should also cover energy efficiency standards and audit tools for accreditation programs run by industry associations.
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