Australia stuck in slow lane on electric vehicles

Australia stuck in slow lane on electric vehicles

Almost a year ago, a Senate inquiry into electric vehicles recommended the federal government lead the way in promoting the uptake of such vehicles. The committee urged the government to set targets for how many electric vehicles might be on the road decades from now, to develop a national strategy with the states about charging infrastructure and commit to transitioning to battery-powered vehicles for the government fleet.

A few weeks later, the Morrison government unveiled what it called a “Climate Solutions Package”, a pitifully inadequate five-point policy that effectively relaunched its earlier Direct Action effort. One of the key points of that initiative was a national strategy for electric vehicles. If evidence were needed of the Coalition’s history of deflection and indecisiveness about climate change, it is right there in that vacuous, single-page strategy on electric cars.

Put shortly, there is no strategy. There is no policy, no target and so far little evidence of a plan.

And in the weeks before the May election, the Coalition buckled under the hysterical tripe emanating from some conservative commentators that falsely claimed government policies to reduce emissions and shift to electric vehicles would lead to tradies losing their trusty utes. That was symptomatic of the quality of much of the discussion about climate change last year.

Meanwhile, the devastating and continuing bushfires this season have demonstrated climate change is taking hold. It is long past time for the Morrison government – and governments worldwide – to get real about genuine, practical climate-change strategies.

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