CANBERRA, AAP – Electric vehicle groups have lashed out at the federal government’s long-awaited future fuels policy, labelling the proposal a “fizzer”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil the government’s electric vehicle strategy later on Tuesday, which will aim to put 1.7 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030.
Electric vehicles had been derided by the prime minister in the lead up to the last federal election as “ending the weekend”.
As part of the $500 million Future Fuels strategy, the government anticipates $250 million will be used to build charging stations and commercial fleets.
However, Electric Vehicles Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said the strategy ignored important initiatives to boost uptake.
“There’s no sugar coating it, Future Fuels is a fizzer,” Mr Jaafari said.
“If it contained fuel efficiency standards and rebates, it would give Australians more choice.”
Mr Morrison also expects $250 million in Future Fuels funding will be matched by private investment, with as many as 2600 jobs to be created.
As part of the government strategy, 50,000 households and 400 businesses would have access to charging stations, with 1000 public stations being built.
Mr Jafari said subsidies or tax incentives were not included as part of the government’s strategy to boost electric vehicle uptake, while fuel efficiency measures were needed to allow more choice for customers.
“(The policy) addresses five per cent of what’s needed, and the five per cent of what it does is good,” he told ABC radio.
“It’s now 2021 and we have been waiting two years for this policy … it’s far too little, too late.”
Some 84 per cent of the population will have access to a charging station, under the government’s plan.
“Australians love their family sedan, farmers rely on their trusted ute and our economy counts on trucks and trains to deliver goods from coast to coast,” Mr Morrison said.
“We will not be forcing Australians out of the car they want to drive or penalising those who can least afford it through bans or taxes.
Labor has accused the government of copying the policies it took to the last election, which was attacked by the coalition in the lead up to the poll.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Australia was falling behind globally on electric vehicle uptake.
“What we would do is eliminate the taxes, but also to make sure that companies could take up electric vehicles,” he told the ABC.
“(This is) a government that had a violent opposition to electric vehicles and now we would have it believe that have converted.”
In a separate environmental announcement, Labor is promising to spend $200 million fixing up urban waterways if it wins power in the next poll to be held by May 2022.
The program, which involves local governments and community groups, is aimed at improving water quality, reducing localised flooding and restoring habitats.
“Urban waterways are so important for quality of life,” Mr Albanese said.
“More people who live in cities and higher density housing need parks around our waterways right around our cities to engage in recreational activity.”