The new measures announced by prime minister Scott Morrison include a A$250m (£136m) plan to collaborate with private enterprises and setting up of 50,000 charging and hydrogen refuelling stations.
Mr Morrison, who once opposed a push for e-cars, stressed that his new plan only aims to facilitate the market for them and is not a subsidy for multinationals.
“The costs of technology are coming down, and that means the choices available to Australians and right around the world are becoming more accessible, so our plans are all about supporting those choices,” Mr Morrison said.
“Our plans aren’t about sending a lot of taxpayers’ money off to big multinationals to get costs down. They’ll do that themselves. They have a keen interest in doing that,” he added.
The government’s new push comes with the aim of covering 30 per cent of the sales in new passenger and light commercial truck sales to be battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric by 2030.
This was after Mr Morrison was widely criticised during the UN climate conference in Glasgow for not announcing more ambitious targets for 2030 and keeping Australia’s emissions reduction target modest. Australia’s net-zero target was also announced late and after substantial international pressure had built up.
Currently, less than two per cent of new vehicles sold in Australia are electric. But the transport sector is a major contributor in making Australia one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitters on a per capita basis.
Mr Morrison’s plan makes no mention of how the country can slowly phase out petrol-diesel based cars. Australia also gets 75 per cent of its electricity from coal, which means instead of consuming fossils like petrol-diesel directly, cars will be consuming fossil-based energy.
Additional reporting by agencies
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