Labor will again push for an increased uptake of electric vehicles at the upcoming election with a range of tax cuts, while the government has turned its attention to Australia’s sovereign capability in missile manufacturing.
With a federal election expected within a year, both major parties are beginning to roll out a number of new policies, signalling areas of focus for the upcoming campaign.
At the Labor national conference on Wednesday Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese announced a series of tax concessions for the purchasing of electric vehicles worth less than $77,565. These included a cut to the import tariff on these vehicles and a fringe benefits tax exemption.
It’s the first new policy focused on electric vehicles from Labor since the 2019 election campaign, which saw the Opposition pledge a national electric vehicles target of 50 percent of new car sales by 2030 and a pollution regulation target.
This policy was met with heightened hyperbole from the government, which claimed such a policy would somehow ruin the weekend for every day Australians.
It’s unclear whether Labor is still committed to these targets, with the party also announcing it would work with the local sector to develop a National Electric Vehicle Strategy.
“A majority of Australians say they would consider buying an electric model as their next car, but because of scaremongering and the policy vacuum under the Morrison government, electric vehicles remain unaffordable for most Australians,” Mr Albanese said.
“By reducing upfront costs, this policy will encourage uptake, cutting fuel and transport costs for households and reducing emissions at the same time.”
Labor also announced another $200 million program that would see 400 community batteries installed, allowing up to 100,000 high rise or rental households to draw from renewable energy.
Also on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced plans to invest $1 billion in Australia’s local missile manufacturing in an effort to shore up military sovereign capability.
The funding will fast-track the development of a local missile manufacturing industry, with a foreign defence company to be selected in consultation with the US government, to build the missiles in Australia. This company may be Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, BAE Systems and Kongsberg.
“Creating our own sovereign capability on Australian soil is essential to keep Australians safe, while also providing thousands of local jobs in businesses right across the defence supply chain,” Mr Morrison said.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, having the ability for self-reliance, be it vaccine development or the defence of Australia, is vital to meeting our own requirements in a changing global environment.
“It is imperative we now proceed with the creation of a sovereign guided weapons capability as a priority, accelerating this process following the idea first being explored in the Force Structure Plan.”