ELECTION: Candidates weigh in on 'ambitious' vehicle targets
THE future of electric vehicles in Australia has become a hot topic ahead of next month's Federal Election.
Labor has set an ambitious national electric vehicle target of 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030, while the Coalition's target is believed to be between 25 and 50 per cent.
Labor candidate for Hinkler, Richard Pascoe said a government led by Bill Shorten would work with Australia's transport sector to cut vehicle emissions, boost adoption of electric vehicles and help Australians save on their petrol bills.
"Queensland has some great people already working in this sphere with electric vehicles as was seen on the weekend in the Fraser Coast (see story below)," he said.
"As part of Labor's electric vehicle policy package, Labor will introduce a target for Federal Government fleets of 50 per cent of new car purchases and leases by 2025," he said.
"New transport technologies like electric vehicles aren't just an opportunity to lower carbon pollution, they're an opportunity to cut fuel costs for motorists, and create new industries, businesses and jobs."
But Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien said it was wasn't up to governments to dictate which products consumers should purchase.
"Industry, supported by robust government policies and where necessary appropriate assistance, leads the way with innovative technology," he said.
"Households and businesses need to be able to choose the sources of energy that best suit their needs."
Independent Hinkler candidate Moe Turaga said the government needed to lead the way when it came to lowering emissions and adopting technology such as electric vehicles.
"It's a new industry which needs great advocacy in this area," he said.
Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said anyone who wanted to buy an electric car could do so.
"But the people in my electorate are towing caravans, taking kids to sport and often driving to Brisbane," he said.
"Cost of living is one of the biggest issues locally and Bill Shorten and Labor want everyone to pay more.
"More taxes, more expensive cars, and higher power prices."
Independent Hinkler candidate David Norman said governments should support innovative ideas that had the potential to benefit Australians.
"Our country should strive to be a leader in positive technology, not follow years behind others," he said.
Mr Norman said if the government sets an example regarding electric vehicles, it would give consumers the confidence to follow suit.
Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Daniel Bryar, said electric vehicles offered cost efficiency and encouraged governments to deploy them for fleet use.
"We don't need to use the environment to justify any of this reasoning either, and that's because with EVs it is not necessary," he said.
"They are superior to fuel-powered vehicles in every aspect save for extreme range where diesel-powered vehicles currently find their market superiority."
Hinkler's Greens candidate Anne Jackson agreed, saying electric vehicles were better for health, cheaper to refuel and more environmentally-friendly.
"It's critical that Australia catches up with the rest of the world and implements stringent standards for vehicle emissions to drive down the transport pollution that is warming our planet and making us sick," she said.