MPA NSW Urges Federal Government to Protect Australian Utes

The Master Plumbers Association (MPA) of NSW has called on the Federal Government to take decisive action to protect the livelihoods of Australian tradespeople and safeguard their work vehicles following the government’s recent announcement of the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES).



The NVES, announced in February 2024 and set to begin in January 2025, aims to reduce emissions from new passenger vehicles by more than 60% by 2030 and roughly halve the emissions of new light commercial vehicles over the same period. The scheme will tax car manufacturers for the number of fuel-thirsty vehicles they introduce but will reward manufacturers for low or no-emission vehicles.

“It’s a ledger; think of a pair of scales. You put really good cars on one side, then you can balance them out [against thirstier ones]… ultimately you have to make everything better,” Motor Trades Association of Australia chief executive Matt Hobbes tells The Guardian.

MPA NSW argues that utes are the lifeblood of tradespeople’s operations and the introduction of these emission regulations has plunged tradies into uncertainty.

“The attack on light commercial vehicles is not just an inconvenience, it’s a direct assault on the backbone of our economy,” MPA NSW chief executive Nathaniel Smith says. “Tradies are the unsung heroes who keep our communities running, and yet they are being hit at every turn by burdensome regulations that only serve to hinder their ability to perform their vital work.”

MPA NSW says that the new emission targets and potentially higher-cost vehicles are another strain on their businesses, already being stretched financially due to fixed contracts, inflation and an increase in materials.

One of the aims of the NVES is to bring the price of electric vehicles (EVs) down by making them a more cost-effective proposition to manufacture.

The 2025 NVES target of 199 grams of CO² per kilometre for light commercial vehicles such as utes is met by today’s Toyota Hilux (197g/km for the auto 2.8L) and Ford Ranger (189g/km for the auto 2.0L) but by the time the 2029 target of 81g/km is implemented each has to slash about 60% off their current fuel use.

Toyota Australia Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Sean Hanley, stated following the announcement of the NVES in Australia: “Toyota Australia supports the introduction of a mandatory fuel-efficiency standard that is ambitious, doesn’t leave Australians behind, is calibrated to the Australian market and allows carmakers to determine the appropriate mix of technologies to achieve it.”

The MPA NSW urges the Federal Government to follow America’s lead in implementing measures that can strike a balance between environmental sustainability and the practical needs of tradies.

Image courtesy of Roger Starnes Sr

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