Australia's EV Policy

11 October 2023

We all know I’m a true-blue V8 devotee. And the next best thing to eight cylinders is 10 or 12…

But electric vehicles are here, and we all need to get serious about what that means for consumers and the automotive industry.

My mates at the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC) are at the forefront of this change, getting in the ears of pollies and regulators to ensure all policy is fair and reasonable.

That’s why they were encouraged by the recent release of a discussion piece National Electric Vehicle Strategy-Consultation Paper on Australia’s policy to support transition to a cleaner transport fleet.

The paper reflects a global shift in vehicle policy and aligns with a broader ambition to reduce Australia’s vehicle and other emissions to net zero by 2050.

Australian government goals outlined in the discussion paper, while aspirational, are achievable with the right incentives and policy settings.

International experience shows highly incentivised car markets, designed to encourage drivers to buy reduced or zero-polluting cars, do far better than simply waiting for price parity on electric vehicles.

Examining how other countries have transitioned to cleaner vehicle fleets shows Australia can avoid many of the pitfalls experienced in other countries.

While countries like Norway and Sweden have significant hydro capabilities, Australia has the equivalent in solar and wind capability, which must be harnessed to meet our transitioning vehicle fleet requirements.

VACC welcomes the opportunity to provide input into the discussion paper. This will include a call to government to consider the transitional requirements of the existing automotive industry that has around 75,000 businesses and employs 400,000 people. 

Many of these are family businesses who have provided services to their local communities for decades. We can’t afford to lose these valuable resources.

The existing industry must be integral to any transition plans. We have thousands of workers and jobs at stake and it can’t be taken for granted all parts of the industry will just transition.

Affordability and an adequate supply of new zero and low-emission vehicles to Australia must be considered, given Australia no longer manufactures its own passenger cars.

Manufacturers deliver vehicles to regions where they are likely to sell, so government policy has to build sufficient incentive into Australia’s car market to make it a destination of choice for vehicle manufacturers.

Battlers need to be part of this transition process as well. We can’t have the creation of a great car divide that excludes people who can’t afford to be part of the fleet transition.

Makes sense to me. Wadda ya reckon?  

Words: VACC ambassador Shane Jacobson.

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