Today the Senate passed my motion to establish a Select Committee on Electric Vehicles, which I will Chair.
We are on the cusp of the biggest disruption to our transport system since the advent of the internal combustion engine.
Bloomberg predicts that EVs will make up more than 50 per cent of all new car sales globally by 2040, and will be as cheap to buy as petrol and diesel cars on average by 2024.
Australia is uniquely placed to take a leading role in this transformation. We have all the natural and human resources needed to build EVs from scratch.
My home state of South Australia, in particular, is ideally placed to build EVs. It’s less thana year since Holden ceased its operations at its Elizabeth plant, meaning that much of the skilled workforce is still around, as is the site.
Adelaide, as a flat, well planned, grid city with a world class data network, and high rooftop solar penetration, is also the perfect testing ground for new EV technologies and business models.
As the world’s leading lithium exporter, Australia is in the box seat to develop EV supply and value chain industries.
The Committee is tasked with inquiring into: the economic, environment and social benefits of widespread electric vehicle uptake in Australia; the opportunity for the development of electric vehicle manufacturing, supply and value chain activities; and how the Federal, State and Territory Governments can better work together to support these goals.
The CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council, Behyad Jafari, welcomed the establishment of theCommittee: “The Senator’s good work in forming this Committee will give our industry the platform to continue exploring the benefits, opportunities and challenges in driving the transition from the old to the future of road transport.
Most importantly, the actions from this effort will give Australians access to vehicles that are cheaper to drive and healthier to haveon the road.”
The NRMA had this to say: “Electric vehicles will reduce the cost of transport to Australians, and offer significant potential benefits to the Australian economy up to $3billion and 13,000additional new jobs.”
The inquiry will seek evidence from a diverse range of stakeholders, including the Electric Vehicle Council and other peak bodies, major car manufacturers (many of whom are already investing heavily in EVs), current and prospective Australian based EV start-ups, lithium and cobalt miners and refiners, energy companies, state, territory and local governments, and environment and health groups.
But much more needs to be done at all levels of government to create the right environment for business and consumers to realise the full potential of this opportunity.
The Committee will lend much needed momentum and leadership to this issue at the Federal level, synthesising the views of stakeholders and charting a path forward.