Page 1468 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 June 2022

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lung cancer, pneumonia, asthma and acute respiratory issues. These are consequences of transport pollution that we can no longer tolerate.

Reducing transport emissions is critical to reducing pollution and alleviating some of the health impacts caused by it. In fact, a regulatory impact statement prepared by the commonwealth, under the former government, which they then refused to implement, highlighted that introducing the Euro 6 standards, or equivalent, in Australia would deliver benefits of $6.4 billion in avoided health costs. It also noted that, by improving access to more advanced vehicle models, fitted with the latest technologies, mandating Euro 6d for all new light vehicles sold in Australia, it would indirectly improve the safety and fuel efficiency of the Australian light vehicle fleet. This would mean that there would be less road trauma at the same time as delivering improvements to CO2 emissions which impact our health.

Stronger vehicle emissions standards will also benefit consumers by making more low and zero emissions vehicles available in the Australian market. We see major manufacturers like Volvo and Ford Europe planning to offer only electric cars from 2030, General Motors following in 2035, and Volkswagen aiming to have 70 per cent of European sales being electric vehicles by 2030. But while these companies are ramping up production of zero emissions vehicles, they must make choices about which markets to service around the world. At the moment, Australia is the bottom of the priority list because older, dirtier and cheaper-to-produce models can still be sold here when they cannot be in many other markets. Our lack of strong national policy settings directly works against the need to see more low and zero emissions vehicles for sale in Australia at prices that everyone can afford.

On the basis that strong vehicle emissions standards represent global best practice in emissions reduction, we encourage the new government to explore this as a priority at the federal level. Australia needs appropriate vehicle emissions and CO2 standards which can work in tandem with, and bolster, the efforts of governments like ours to drive the zero emissions transition. In recent months I have been speaking with my state and territory counterparts, both transport ministers and some energy ministers, both Labor and Liberal, about this issue and there is strong support across the country for action on it. We all recognise that a consistent, national approach to vehicle emissions standards is preferable to a patchwork of different rules and schemes around Australia, with the commonwealth government being best placed to deliver this.

I am really optimistic about the potential for action here, because we know that the new Albanese Labor government believes that climate change is real and recognises that there is an urgent need to act. What a huge and refreshing change it is from the disgraceful obstruction, climate denialism and wedge politics of the Liberal-Nationals over the past nine years. The new Labor government has a real plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050, supported by realistic 2030 reduction targets and, importantly, a strong agenda to support people and communities through this change.

The government’s commitments to exempt electric vehicles from some taxes, at the federal level, to make them more affordable; invest in the rewiring Australia plan; deliver more solar power and batteries into communities; invest in augmenting our

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