Widespread public sector usage of electric vehicles (EVs) has moved a step closer after members of the Climate Action Roundtable signed an agreement to accelerate their implementation in government agencies.
South Australia, Western Australia, the ACT, Adelaide and Hobart signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Electric Vehicle Council at a meeting in Adelaide on 1 December, agreeing to develop a plan to increase the share of EVs in their fleets and to consider how to use their combined market power to promote the public uptake of electric vehicles.
They also agreed to coordinate the strategic planning and construction of infrastructure for EVs and to seek to align states’ standards and incentives. The roundtable also committed to continuing action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The Climate Action Roundtable is a loose grouping of state governments and local councils who “have a common commitment to ambitious climate change action to meet the climate goals laid out in the Paris Agreement, and to a just transition to low carbon societies.”
All are working to achieve the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. In July they signed the Climate Leadership Declaration to highlight the role states and territories can play in climate change action and the economic benefits it can deliver.
“Transport is the fastest-growing contributor to climate change globally”, said South Australian Climate Change Minister Ian Hunter, who chaired the meeting. “Other major economies are moving away from petrol and diesel-fuelled engines.
“It’s important that we are at the forefront of a transition to lower-emission vehicles in Australia – both to reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions, and to keep pace with global competitors.
“States, territories and cities have an important role in increasing the uptake of electric vehicles as they control a number of the policies that can shift public perception and behaviour.”
Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari said that the announcement was an “encouraging step forward for Australia, seeing state and local governments committing to work together to drive progress on zero emissions transport.
“As the global market for electric vehicles grows exponentially, Australia has fallen behind. We need governments to take meaningful action to begin the process of transitioning our economy from imported oils, to transport run from domestically generated renewable energy.
“I call on the remaining governments in Australia, particularly the Federal Government, to hear this call and join us in supporting a transition to a safer, healthier and cheaper road transport future.”
The Climate Change Roundtable, in its communique after its February meeting in Cairns, agreed on three key areas of focus:
- Energy efficient built environment, to be led by Australian Capital Territory
- Partnership opportunities, to be led by Queensland.
- The transition to renewable energy including energy storage and low emission vehicles, to be led by South Australia.