A new auto industry, a ban on fossil fuel-powered vehicles, subsidies for electric cars, and “choices not mandates” are on the starting line as parties gear up for the federal election.
Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt says the party will push for a South Australian-focused package to support an electric car industry in the state, if it secures the balance of power at May’s federal election.
Kicking off their campaign in Adelaide on Wednesday, the party will pledge $6.1 billion to boost the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) and re-establish auto manufacturing in Australia.
“In a few years’ time, the whole country could be driving SA-made electric cars,” Mr Bandt said.
The Greens say the policy would be paid for by a new “billionaires tax”, a corporate super-profits tax, and no more handouts to “the coal, oil and gas giants that are driving the climate crisis”.
Aiming for net-zero emissions by 2035, the Greens would provide rebates of up to $15,000 for a driver’s first EV and finance up to $50,000 of the balance at cheap interest rates.
The Greens would also provide $2 billion over the next two years to FutureGrid, a proposed publicly owned electricity transmission and distribution company, to build new charging infrastructure.
More than 30,000 fast chargers would be installed at critical points across the country, to allow drivers to get to 80 per cent charge in 15-30 minutes.
Transport is one of Australia’s largest sources of emissions, with light vehicles – cars, 4x4s, SUVs and small commercial vehicles – accounting for 10 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
The Morrison government says it has spent $2.1 billion to partner with industry to support the uptake of low- and zero-emissions vehicles, including through the expanded $250 million Future Fuels Fund.
“Technology, not taxes. Choices, not mandates,” is the pitch of the incumbents.
If elected, a Labor government would introduce an electric car discount on July 1, 2022, aiming to make the option cheaper for Australians and reduce emissions.
It would exempt many electric cars from the five per cent import tariff and 47 per cent fringe benefits tax when provided by workplaces, up to the luxury car tax threshold for fuel efficient vehicles ($77,565 in 2020-21).
The industry peak body, the Electric Vehicle Council, estimates car buyers would save $2000 on a model such as the Nissan Leaf if the import tariff was scrapped.
THE GREENS’ ELECTRIC VEHICLE PLAN:
* Provide $1.2 billion to manufacturers of electric vehicles and components to build the industry.
* Cut the cost of an electric vehicle by up to $15,000 and provide cheap finance for the balance.
* Legislate strict vehicle pollution standards and ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.
* Build a $2 billion publicly owned fast-charging network.
* Electrify the Commonwealth fleet by 2025, to drive supply into the second-hand vehicle market.