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Government idiocy costing us billions

With a headline like that, I could go on to discuss innumerable things, but today I want to focus on the “save the ute” campaign.

In the lead up to the last election, Labor announced strategies to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles.

“Labor will set a national electric vehicles target of 50% new car sales by 2030, and 50% for the government fleet by 2025, as well as allowing business to deduct a 20% depreciation for private fleet EVs valued at more than $20,000… Bill Shorten will also flag a new pollution regulation on car retailers “in line with” 105g CO2/km for light vehicles, which is consistent with American emissions standards, but will consult on coverage and the timeline to phase in the change rather than impose it immediately.”

Cue an outraged Michaelia Cash who, with neck cords strained, swore to an audience of bored apprentices in her gratingly nasal “Kath and Kim” way, that she would “stand by our tradies to save their utes”.

Perhaps someone should have briefed Michaelia about the Coalition’s latest glossy brochure released a month or two earlier, the Climate Solutions Package, where they claim that “An electric vehicles strategy is expected to reduce emissions by up to 10 million tonnes by 2030”.

Not that they actually have a strategy. The one paragraph devoted to it says:

The strategy will build on grants from ARENA, finance from CEFC, and the work of the COAG Transport and Infrastructure Council to coordinate action across governments, industry and community in both urban and regional areas. This work will include consultation on whether mandating an electric vehicle plug type could improve the consistency of public charging.

As David Crowe points out in the SMH, there are many reasons why the government should want to encourage electric cars.

They reduce oil imports and improve the nation’s trade balance. They reduce demand for petrol and therefore ease Australia’s relative shortage of reserves at domestic refineries. They deliver a strategic benefit by using domestic rather than imported energy.

In percentage terms, the transport sector has experienced the largest growth in emissions, increasing 64.9 per cent (39.8 Mt CO2 -e) between 1990 and the year to March 2019, currently accounting for 18.8 per cent of Australia’s national inventory of GHG.

There is the obvious benefit of emissions reductions if the electricity is produced by renewable sources, which will boost employment in both the renewable energy sector and in building the charging infrastructure to service electric vehicles.

Even without the transition to electric vehicles, there are many things the government could be doing but are not, like introducing fuel efficiency standards that many other nations have already adopted.

According to The Conversation, “If Australia had introduced internationally harmonised emissions legislation three years ago, households could have made savings on fuel costs to the tune of A$1 billion.”

Available evidence suggests Australian motorists are paying on average almost 30% more for fuel than they should because of the lack of fuel efficiency standards.

The Australian government is not progressing any measures to introduce a fuel efficiency target. In fact, it recently labelled Labor’s proposed fuel efficiency standard as a “car tax”.

Australia could increasingly become a dumping ground for the world’s least efficient vehicles with sub-par emissions performance, given our lack of fuel efficiency standards. This leaves us on a dangerous path towards not only higher vehicle emissions, but also higher fuel costs for passenger travel and freight.

It would be cynical of me to suggest that the government is reluctant to give up the revenue they get from fuel excise, but what other explanation can there be for their strident opposition and negligent inaction?

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  1. Jack Cade

    As I have posted before, the Australian electorate is being treated by the Coalition like a frog in a stock pot. As the heat increases (i.e. as our rights and entitlements are taken away) to boiling point, the frog doesn’t notice.
    That’s us, folks, boiled to death by a bunch of totally inept and totally corrupt people, and we haven’t noticed. John Howard lit the gas.

  2. pierre wilkinson

    “It would be cynical of me to suggest that the government is reluctant to give up the revenue they get from fuel excise, but what other explanation can there be for their strident opposition and negligent inaction?”

    gee, stupidity? hubris? corruption? all three and more?

  3. Kaye Lee

    OK, aside from ambition, greed, stupidity, hubris and corruption…..

  4. RosemaryJ36

    There are few actions of this government about which I am not cynical!
    Elected to serve us, their policies benefit their craving for power at cost to us!

  5. New England Cocky

    Oh dear KL, those are precisely the reasons for NOT having policies encouraging self sufficiency in vehicles, requiring at least primary processing of minerals and developing manufacturing industries in Australia. THAT would result in Australia diverging away from becoming the worst third world export economy in the OECD and leaving African countries better placed to exploit future economic opportunities.

  6. Geoff Andrews

    And, boy, didn’t Labor jump on that Cash brain snap. It was a game changer.
    The backroom boys (and girls) immediately got cracking on an ad outlining all the advantages of electric cars. Unfortuneatly, all of the points that you’ve outlined, Kay, were not available way back then. But that didn’t stop them: one couldn’t watch a news item without one of the shadow ministers cleverly ridiculing the cash-strapped commentary. i reckon the backroom lads (and lasses) would have spent as much time looking for an angle trying to cash in on this “gotha moment” as their careful explanation, yet to be released, of how the franking credits policy worked.
    Both potentially brilliant.
    No wonder they’re having an internal examination, which apparently points a rather shitty finger at everyone except the faceless men (and women) asleep at the desk in the backroom.
    Have I told you my theory of why they lost the unlosable ………….

  7. John

    To be blunt, the only reason the LNP pollies could have the attitude they have is because they are a bunch of wankers.

  8. corvus boreus

    Geoff Andrews,
    I also admired how blatant perfidies and perversions of justice, like Cash’s office misusing the AFP for political purposes and then compromising the resultant police operation by pre-emptively leaking details to the media, were utilised by the ALP to aggressively pursue the case for the implementation of meaningful anti-corruption measures.
    Real vote winner that.

  9. Kaye Lee

    According to the quarterly update “The past six years have seen a strong increase in diesel consumption of 19.8 per cent” – 7.5% annual growth in the last year alone.

    Emissions from transport over the year to March 2019 increased by 1.3 per cent when compared with the previous year.

    We should get Craig Kelly on to it. He said in his first speech “I am concerned about the health effects from fine particulate matter in diesel exhaust, as studies in California show that diesel exhaust leads to 9,000 premature deaths annually.”

    We are due for the next quarterly update with GHG emissions to June. I’m betting on a release about 4pm Friday Nov 29….just before the 5 month time allowance runs out, unless there is a major sporting event that would offer cover.

    Considering the fires, I would suggest nothing will save them from scrutiny. Prepare for a lot of irrelevant per capita nonsense.

  10. wam

    At the end of the century, I was shocked to learn of the extreme greed and power of the oil lobby as shown by the fact that the japanese had an electric truck with a range of 100 kms after the war.
    Imagine what 70 years of development would have done?
    Menzies and vietnam knocked all the positives out of me.
    All that is left is the hope that Aboriginal women will become the identifiers of the power of Aborigines and only electric vehicles will be allowed into the cities of the world.
    For anything else I am just a happy old whinging cynic.
    ps anyone else see how gutless tanner was? Albo get a quality candidate on the ground now.

  11. Geoff Andrews

    Completely off topic.
    Of all the thousands of sermons delivered yesterday in Australia, the ABC has to bring to our attention that Israel fellow’s (hardly the sharpest knife in the picnic basket) opinion that the bush fires are the gods’ response to our acceptance of sane sex marriage.
    Stop the world: I want to get off.

  12. Kaye Lee

    One response on twitter…

    “Israel is our punishment for ignoring climate change”

    Honestly, this guy is dumb as dogshit

  13. Wobbley

    I can see Cuba now, no……., it’s Australia the museum, where else in the world will you see predominately fossil fueled vehicles in the twenty first century where every other country has converted to electric? Maybe it’s the new tourist policy, come back in time to see how we used to live when people were uninformed about anything really.

  14. Terence Mills

    I hear this morning that the housing market particularly in our major cities has taken off again and investors are flooding back into that market now that their concerns about restrictions on negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions have been allayed.

    We are told to expect another real estate boom fueled by these concessions and record low interest rates.

    How good is capitalism – unless you are a first home buyer !

  15. Kaye Lee


    “A recent study by Digital Finance Analytics found that more than a million Australian households were in mortgage stress in March, with around 28,000 in severe stress.

    The study also found that over 66,700 households could fall into a 30-day home-loan default within the next 12 months. This is a huge jump from the expectations of 800 households in the previous month.

    “The forces continue to build, despite reassurances that household finances are fine. This is because we continue to see an accumulation of larger mortgages compared to income while costs are rising, and incomes remain static,” North said.

  16. Lambchop Simnel

    Maybe Israel is Palestine’s punishment for ignoring climate change?

    But kept in the dark for such a long time, they can’t be blamed.

  17. johno

    Replace old utes with electric utes with the help of a big rebate from scomo. Recycle old utes. Would that work ?

  18. johno

    Israel is his own personal train wreck.

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