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Question without Notice: Electric Vehicles

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Sam Hibbins MP
Member for Prahran
3 February 2021

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran): My question is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. The latest Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report, released in December last year, found that transport had Victoria’s largest growth as a source of emissions, now accounts for a fifth of our state’s entire emissions and in fact is our state’s second-biggest source of emissions outside our coal-fired power stations. One way to reverse this is to replace petrol cars with electric vehicles, and with price being the biggest barrier to the uptake of electric vehicles, I ask: why is the government still committed to putting a new tax on electric cars that would make them even more expensive for people to buy instead of making them more affordable?

Ms D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park—Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes): I thank the member for Prahran for his question. There is no government that is more serious about tackling climate change than this government in all of this country. Our government has led the way with legislated emissions reduction targets, not just an aspirational 100 per cent that is carbon neutral by 2050 but interim emissions targets. That is what industry and the broader community are wanting to be able to make investment decisions and plan and for the fantastic jobs that come out of it.

Speaker, you only have to look at our recent budget to see the leadership, real action, continuing to deliver to reduce our carbon emissions as we actually reduce power bills for consumers—whether it is businesses, whether it is households—and of course creating the thousands of jobs. In terms of the transport sector—

Mr Hibbins: On a point of order, Speaker, we are into the minister’s answer and she has not actually referred to electric vehicles yet. I would ask you to bring her back to the substance of the question.

The SPEAKER: Order! It was a very long and broad-ranging question. The minister is being relevant to it.

Ms D’AMBROSIO: Let me be really clear that very shortly we will be announcing our interim emissions reduction targets. We will also be releasing our climate change strategy, together with the sector pledges, including the transport sector. But let me point to the facts. As an indication of the leadership of this government you only have to look at the last budget, which shows that we are putting $45 million into charging stations right across the state, because the reality is that that is a preparatory move that needs to be in place before we have the major uptake of electric vehicles in this state. We will have more to say in terms of tackling climate change and emissions issues to do with the transport sector, including of course the record investment that we are already making in public transport, which is part of the transport sector. We will certainly have more to say in terms of zero-emissions vehicles and the role that they will play in reducing our carbon emissions and meeting our pledges when it comes to climate change action.

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran): The minister did not actually mention the words ‘electric vehicle tax’ in her answer, but I will move on. The newly elected US President recently announced new plans to replace the entire US government fleet of over 600 000 vehicles with electric cars and trucks. Yet Victoria only has five electric vehicles and 29 plug-in hybrids out of a fleet of 10 000 vehicles, with no target to increase that. Minister, why is Victoria lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to transitioning to electric vehicles?

Ms D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park—Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes): I absolutely reject the phrase and the way that the member for Prahran wishes to characterise our state. Our state continues to lead this country in climate change action, backed up by real investment. We will have more to say with respect to the transport sector, including electric vehicles. Right now I am actually working on a ZEV road map, and we will certainly have more to say in this area. I am not here to take any lessons from the Greens or anyone opposite when it comes to tackling climate change. Our record speaks for itself. Our legislative commitments speak for themselves—unlike those who knocked back legislated reform at a federal level and turned their backs on it because purity got in the way of real action. Not this government—not ever.

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Sam Hibbins MP
Member for Prahran
3 February 2021
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