MEDIA CENTRE

NSW Electric Vehicle Strategy Welcomed But The Needs Of Freight Must Be Considered

Media Release – 21 June 2021

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has welcomed the release of the NSW Government’s comprehensive Electric Vehicle Strategy as the first step towards encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles across NSW.

Amongst other features, the NSW Government has committed $171 million to develop charging infrastructure along major commuter corridors, along major highways and in or near commuter car parks.

Interim Chief Executive Officer Rachel Smith said that the convenient provision of charging infrastructure will go some way towards increasing the uptake of electric vehicles.

However, Miss Smith said the needs of the Australian freight industry should not be forgotten.

She said: ‘As the Australian Government said in its Future of Fuels discussion paper, rigid trucks and long haul trucks will need dedicated public charging infrastructure, due to their larger batteries. Charging stations will need to set up along major transport routes and regional centres to leverage existing network capacity and support greater range.[1]

These needs, as well as the needs of those operating hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles must be provided for as the infrastructure component of the Electric Vehicle Strategy is rolled out, particularly along National Key Freight Routes that have been identified by both the NSW and Australian Governments.’ 

Another component of the Strategy is the proposed implementation of a  road user charge of 2.5c/km for EV and a 2.0c/km for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) will be applied from 1 July 2027 or when EVs make up at least 30 per cent of new car sales.

This means that for some period of time, Victoria and South Australia will be imposing a road user charge on electric vehicles, NSW will do so at an indefinite time prior to 2027, and other jurisdictions not at all.

As ALC said in a recent submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Economics, Australia is a single national economy. Yet so much of the regulatory framework that impacts on businesses is designed and enforced at a State or local level that complicates the process of transporting freight.

It called on the National Cabinet process to establish a pathway for the development of a road user charge capable of being applied to all classes of vehicle-not just electric vehicles.

The Committee agreed that creating inconsistent charging mechanisms for electric vehicles is unlikely to benefit anyone and this could be an item for consideration by the National Federation Reform Council.[2]

Miss Smith reiterated the need for a nationally co-ordinated approach to road user charging, saying: ‘As excise revenues become increasingly unpredictable, a new mechanism must be found that can be applied to all classes of vehicle to ensure that the funds are available to ensure the continued investment in, and maintenance of, Australian roads.

The National Cabinet should grasp the nettle and develop a reliable road user charging system so Australia’s roads receive the investment they need.’

ENDS

[1] Pages 10 and 11

[2] Paragraph 2.24