Every time they fill up, Australians are reminded of the global oil price shock.
Fuel is putting family and business budgets under intense pressure, and driving up the price of essentials like groceries.
But under Scott Morrison, half of Australia’s remaining refineries have closed, and fuel “reserves” are stored in the Gulf of Mexico.
Scott Morrison has a short term measure to get him past the election – a temporary change to the fuel excise that ends after Australians vote.
But he has no plan for a future where Australian vehicles are powered by cheaper, cleaner energy – and where families and businesses are no longer exposed to global oil markets.
Labor knows that over time, electric and hydrogen vehicles can reduce running costs as well as emissions, and end Australia’s reliance on foreign oil.
After claiming that EVs would “end the weekend” and that hydrogen was “snake oil”, the Morrison Government has finally announced a $250 million Future Fuels Fund.
But true to form, the Government has delivered just 10 per cent of this promise.
Labor will double the Commonwealth’s investment to $500 million and establish a new Driving the Nation Fund. The first two investments from the new Fund will be a National EV Charging Network and a national expansion of Hydrogen Highways.
Along with cost – which Labor is addressing through it’s Electric Car Discount – ‘range anxiety’ is a major barrier to EV uptake. Labor will invest $39.3 million (matched by the NRMA) to deliver 117 fast charging stations on highways across Australia. This will provide charging stations at an average interval of 150km on major roads. The stations will be interoperable with all EV models and all other charging networks, and will use local content wherever possible.
This will mean that, for first time, people will be able to truly drive around Australia in an EV.
It will fill in the gaps in the charging network, so that it will be possible to drive from:
Labor’s Electric Car Discount will make EVs cheaper. It will exempt many EVs from import tariffs and Fringe Benefits Tax, boosting sales volumes and expanding the used car market.
Hydrogen is an important option for the decarbonisation of heavy transport, but the Liberals have not delivered a dollar of their Future Fuels Fund to hydrogen refuelling stations. Labor will work with the States and Territories to roll out Hydrogen Highways nationally, matching the funding already committed by New South Wales and Victoria ($20 million) and making the same amount available to other jurisdictions on a matching basis (up to $60 million). Based on a recent agreement between New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, Labor’s investment could deliver 16 hydrogen refuelling stations on Australia’s busiest freight routes.
Labor will continue to deliver the Driving the Nation Fund through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and will coordinate public investment to ensure that it does not duplicate or crowd out private efforts.