What’s your legacy, ScoMo?

31 January 2020

Oz in reverse gear when it comes to end-of-life vehicles

The environmental scorecard for Australia’s past prime ministers is disappointing.

So, with the first 2020 parliamentary sitting in Canberra in February, I’ve been thinking about what this country really needs – a strong environmental agenda and that includes automotive.

Automotive hasn’t always had a clean record. But the industry has become better in recent years. Manufacturers are using recycled materials, building more efficient vehicles and lessening their environmental footprint.

And, of course, we’re moving to alternative power sources like electricity and hydrogen that – if we get it right – could create an environmentally sustainable transport future.

The immediate environmental problem is that Australian consumers send 243,000 tonnes of vehicles to landfill – that’s 796,000 cars, trucks and motorcycles – each year, and that figure will only grow.

So what is the Government doing about it? Nothing.

Scandalously, Australia does not have an end-of-life vehicle policy. When I look back at our recent past prime ministers, the answer becomes clear.

Kevin Rudd called climate change “the greatest moral challenge of our generation”. But did nothing about it.

Julia Gillard launched the ill-fated ‘cash for clunkers’ policy, but then gave in.

Tony Abbot repealed carbon price legislation and pushed budget cuts for renewables through parliament.

Malcolm Turnbull styled himself as the ‘great environmentalist’ but ultimately failed us.

And now, to you, Scott Morrison. What will be your legacy? Since you’ve been in office the number of vehicles sent to landfill could fill the MCG more than 400 times over.

It’s time for Government to deliver. So, let’s see your action plan. 


Words: VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym. As featured in the Herald Sun 31 January 2020.

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