Legislative Council

QUESTION: Electric Vehicles

September 5th, 2018

On the 5th of September Mark asked the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, representing the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, a question about electric vehicles.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: South Australia, up until 2016, had a low emission vehicle strategy. It is now quite a dated document. It has ministers Patrick Conlon and Paul Caica on the inside sleeve; it is a historic document. The point I think is that since that document expired—it was 'South Australia's Low Emission Vehicle Strategy 2012-2016'—there has been no replacement strategy. That particular document was not specifically aimed at zero emission vehicles, such as electric vehicles. Nevertheless, they do make up an important component of that sector.

The most recent report about the state of electric vehicles in Australia, including South Australia, is a report from June of this year, 'The State of Electric Vehicles in Australia'. It is produced by ClimateWorks Australia and it was commissioned by the Electric Vehicle Council. That document points out that sales of electric vehicles nationwide increased 67 per cent in one year. However, whilst that sounds impressive, there were only about 2,200 sold in the most recent year, which represents 0.2 per cent of motor vehicles sold, or one car in 500. In South Australia, only 1,000 electric vehicles have been sold in the last six years.

My questions of the minister are:

1. Is the government now working on a new electric vehicle strategy for South Australia? If they are, when might it be released and what consultation will be undertaken?

2. What steps is the government taking to lead by example and convert a majority of the state fleet to electric vehicles?

ANSWER - The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment): I thank the honourable member for his ongoing interest in electric vehicles and low emissions. I have just found one of the old 'Fix it, Pat' lapel badges in my drawer, so minister Conlon does live on. In relation to electric vehicles, it is something that I think we will see more of, even though there haven't been as many purchased as perhaps the honourable member would like. Two years ago, I took the opportunity to visit the Formula E—which is the electric grand prix—people in London. I had heard that there was some speculation that they may be interested in coming to South Australia.

I thought that it might be logical to have that as part of the Adelaide 500 weekend. Unfortunately, the Formula E people would like to be at six months. They don't want to be anywhere near petrol; they don't burn petrol, so they want to be away from it. That was a bit disappointing, because I am not sure that we have the capacity in South Australia to shut down the streets of Adelaide for another race in and around the streets, like a city race. I am getting a little distracted there. In relation to the electric vehicle strategy, I will take that on notice and refer it to the minister in the other chamber and bring back a reply.



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