In the absence of any concrete moves at all by the Federal government, the ACT has taken another step closer to making Australia – or at least the capital territory that envelopes Parliament House – a welcoming place for electric vehicles.

On Wednesday, the ACT announced it had signed the global “Birmingham Declaration” which commits stakeholders across the globe to take real steps to accelerate the move to low emission vehicles, enabling the growth of the market, and so developing innovative technological and manufacturing advances.

Key signatories include the UK, Denmark, Netherlands, France, Barbados, Poland, Italy, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, and now the ACT.

“It’s crucial to reduce emissions from transport in order to tackle climate change, and this requires action at the local, national and global scale,” said ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury, who is visiting the UK to speak at the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit in Birmingham.

Rattenbury signed the declaration committing governments, industry, researchers and financiers to an integrated and truly global approach to the transition to low emissions vehicles.

“Many cites, states and countries all around the world are now taking exciting steps to accelerate zero emissions transport,” the minister said.

“The UK has a goal to have no more non-electric cars sold by 2040.  Australia needs to do the same and the ACT is leading the charge.

“With transport expected to create over 60% of the ACT’s emissions by 2020, mostly from private car use, we are strongly committed to reducing greenhouse gases by encouraging active travel, providing high quality low emissions public transport options and transitioning to zero emissions vehicles.

“This year I released an Action Plan to accelerate the adoption of zero emissions vehicles in the ACT that will take us through to 2021. We are taking these actions to ensure the ACT is a leader when it comes to clean air, innovative industry, and climate change mitigation.”

The  Birmingham Declaration underpins a truly global approach, involving national and municipal policy makers together with leaders in the automotive, infrastructure and energy industries.

“By collaborating, we will have a much more rapid and decisive impact on reducing road transport emissions,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The ACT is again proof positive that local jurisdictions are getting the job done when it comes to delivering real action on climate change, while our Federal Government fails to act,” Mr Rattenbury said.

Under the State’s Transition to Zero Emissions Vehicles Action Plan, the ACT Government is committed to a number of key actions including but not limited to:

  • transitioning the ACT Government’s passenger vehicles fleet to zero emissions vehicles from 2020-21
  • requiring all new multi-unit and mixed-use developments to install vehicle charging infrastructure
  • providing transit lane access to zero emissions vehicles until 2023
  • supporting new and innovative businesses in the zero emissions vehicle sector to maximise job creation and economic development in the ACT.
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