Queensland’s minister for transport has slammed the Morrison government for failing to develop any federal policies to drive the uptake of electric vehicles in Australia, and said the best it could do to rectify this was to “resign,” or at least call an election.
Mark Bailey told a Queensland Smart Energy Summit on Tuesday that Australia’s electric vehicle uptake was “anaemic” compared to the rest of the developed world, and laid most of the blame for this at the feet of the federal Coalition.
Bailey, who previously served as energy minister in the Labor Palaszczuk government, said Queensland was the first in Australia to release an EV strategy, back in 2017, and his department was currently working up a much more ambitious plan, in line with the state’s net-zero emissions by 2050 target.
But Bailey said that the state’s role in driving the uptake of electric vehicles in Australia had been made a great deal harder by the complete lack of leadership from the top, which appeared to have put the nation in reverse on this measure, while the rest of the world was accelerating.
“Just as we need genuine leadership on the vaccine rollout, and on this quarantine, we also need it when it comes to action on climate change and the need to transform into cleaner energy sources – and we see … a total absence on all three fronts from the Morrison government,” the minister said.
And he said that the best that the current LNP could do to improve Australia’s prospects for the transition to zero emissions transport was to get out of government and make way for more progressive – or at least less regressive – national leaders.
“If we had an election, that’d be… a good thing,” Bailey told the Summit, hosted by the Smart Energy Council.
“You know, they’ve been in nearly 10 years now and… we’ll work with them, as the state government, to get the [best] kind of outcomes [we can] possibly get, but, you know, I don’t hold out a massive amount of hope.”
Bailey pointed to the return of Barnaby Joyce – whose current partner is on the public record for her disdain for EVs – as leader of the National Party and deputy PM, as the latest sign that nothing was expected to change any time soon on the federal policy front.
“You know, they’ve just changed the Deputy Prime Minister back to someone who’s got no commitment … to the current energy market or the evolving economy; quite the opposite,” he said.
“To be quite frank, I haven’t seen much come out of [the federal Coalition] that has made a lot of sense about renewables, about clean energy, electric vehicles; there’s no policy there, it’s a fig leaf, you know. Other countries are massively going into this space, and we’ll just get the dregs.
“So… I don’t have a lot of faith… they’ve mismanaged the two jobs [they’ve had] on the vaccine roll-out and on quarantine. And when it comes to energy it’s been the same story – they’re just out of date and out of time,” Bailey said.