Published on: October 2021
Electric Vehicles (Revenue Arrangements) Bill 2021
Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill 2021
NSW Generations Funds Amendment Bill 2021
Second Reading Debate
Debate resumed from an earlier hour.
Mr STEPHEN BALI (Blacktown) (15:40:48):
Via video link: I resume my contribution to the Electric Vehicles (Revenue Arrangements) Bill 2021 and cognate bills. Prior to the interruption of debate, I raised key issues of concern. One key issue relates to a driver who elects to prepay their anticipated kilometres for the year, for example, 8,000 kilometres. If that distance is reached after 10 months, their car could be stuck parked for two months. If the vehicle is driven during this period, the driver will be fined. It is ridiculous, given there is no ability to pay for an adjustment at the time of registration renewal. There is also no provision in the Electric Vehicles (Revenue Arrangements) Bill for monthly payments of the user tax in order to make it more affordable for people on tight budgets.
Extension of time
Earlier I spoke proudly about Blacktown City Council being the first council in Australia to provide free, publicly available recharging stations. Blacktown residents love their international home of motor racing at Eastern Creek, which hosts Top Fuel dragsters, the Supercars series, motocross bikes and karting and will soon host speedway racing. The people of Blacktown City have also demonstrated their love of electric vehicles. Given that Blacktown City Council was the first council to adopt electric vehicle recharging technology, plus the fact that one in every 21 people in New South Wales lives in Blacktown City, we do not want the Government starving the area of vital funds for the installation of additional recharging stations. There needs to be transparency to allow for recharging stations to be built on a fair and equitable basis in the regions and across the greater Sydney area. I am also concerned that there will be different charges for electric trucks compared with electric bikes, buses and motorbikes. It would obviously be unfair for electric-powered bikes, cars, buses and trucks to be charged at the same rate. 
That is another first: the first virtual extension. Under mayor Tony Bleasdale's leadership, Blacktown council has also kept the focus on renewable energy and the adoption of non‑fossil fuel vehicles. The research undertaken by Jon Bannister, the Blacktown council manager for plant and energy, has examined trucks using electricity as well as hydrogen power. Today electric trucks, for example, generally only have a range of about 80 kilometres, compared to a range of 400 kilometres for hydrogen fuel trucks. Hydrogen fuel is currently limited in availability and is an expensive source, but in the next few years this will change as technology improves.
Will this Government include all sources of fuel for all types of vehicles? This Liberal‑Nationals Government is asleep at the wheel. If you use an electric pump then they will come to this Parliament with some half‑baked legislation. All fuels and all sources ought to be considered now. I also acknowledge the trailblazing [inaudible] by Bill Shorten in the lead‑up to the last Federal election to promote the goal of 50 per cent of Australian car sales involving electric vehicles by 2030. There was [inaudible] attack by the Federal Liberals and Nationals, who claimed it was an unworkable policy. This was despite that in 2019 [inaudible] policy initiative [inaudible] in Norway, they have already achieved [inaudible] per cent of new car sales being electric vehicles and with more than a dozen nations across [inaudible] phasing out sales for internal combustion engines vehicles.
The New South Wales State Liberals' and Nationals' silence on this issue in 2019 was deafening. Today, 2½ years after the last Federal election, we are being introduced to a road usage tax on electric vehicles. Why? Because the Liberal Government acknowledges that over the next few years the sale of electric cars will increase dramatically, leaving a massive hole in the State budget. Whilst this legislation is a step in the right direction, this Government has again proved [inaudible] details and is penalising the people of western Sydney and regional areas.
Weekend at Bernie's
I call on my colleague and friend from Mount Druitt. He has not moved for some time. We might need to give him a call to see if he is okay or if that is a scene from . I hope he is alright. Once again, I thank the Parliament for allowing me—from Blacktown—to lead on electric vehicles and to be the first person to speak on a Government bill virtually. I look forward to further deliberations and seeing members in Parliament soon.
Mr GEOFF PROVEST (Tweed) (15:46:49):
It is a pleasure to be back in the Chamber; it is something we have missed and it is an important part of our roles on both sides of the House. I make a contribution to debate on the Electric Vehicles (Revenue Arrangements) Bill 2021. The objects of the bill are to:
impose a distance‑related road user charge on registered operators of certain zero and low emissions vehicles, and
Duties Act 1997
exempt certain zero and low emissions vehicles from the payment of duty under the , Chapter 9.
The Government's Electric Vehicle Strategy targets three of the top barriers impeding the widespread uptake of electric vehicles [EVs]. Those barriers relate to the high upfront cost of EVs, anxiety over range and charging, and the availability of different EV models. The Electric Vehicle Strategy contains a range of measures that will help address each of these concerns and lay the foundation for strong growth in the New South Wales electric vehicle sector.
Members on both sides of the House would agree that this is an important step as we face climate change challenges now and into the future and develop alternative sources of energy and transport. One of the issues with EVs—perhaps not so much here in the city environment, but in the country environment—is that drivers can easily cover two or three times the current range of electric vehicles. They have the convenience of quickly filling up with petrol or diesel and continuing on. I know technology has been advancing in the area of battery storage, life and charging, but even in my electorate of Tweed, where there are some 80,000 people and around 60,000 vehicles, the uptake of EVs pretty minimal at this stage. There are power stations around, but I could probably count them on all my fingers and toes. There has not been a massive uptake.
The Government has committed to fully electrifying the New South Wales Government fleet procurement by 2029‑30, with an interim target of 50 per cent by 2025‑26. Similar initiatives are in place overseas. I note the Biden administration has announced plans to spend $174 billion to upgrade its 640,000 government fleet vehicles to electric vehicles, and New Zealand plans to invest $300 million to make its government fleet emission‑free by 2025‑26. By international standards, there are relatively few electric vehicles on the Australian market. As of mid‑2020 there were only 11 battery‑powered EV models available in Australia. In order to bring more affordable models into New South Wales, importers need to have confidence in the local market.
By electrifying the government fleet, the New South Wales Government will use its bulk purchasing power to incentivise importers to increase the range of EV models sold in New South Wales. This will help develop the EV sector, as New South Wales government fleet vehicles are typically resold on the second‑hand market after three to five years. This will translate to a higher number of second‑hand, light EVs that will be available to New South Wales drivers. Boosting the supply of high‑quality second‑hand electric vehicles will create more choice for buyers. The New South Wales Government will also review its procurement processes to make it as easy as possible for government agencies to buy EVs. This will create jobs and grow the economy.
The New South Wales Government is committed to maximising the employment and economic benefits of increasing the uptake of EVs in the State. New South Wales has a highly skilled workforce and a diverse range of businesses that can be leveraged to unlock new economic opportunities for the State to grow. Increasing the uptake of EVs in New South Wales presents an opportunity to create new jobs in the EV industry. These jobs could occur across many parts of the EV market, from manufacturing EV components to installing, managing and maintaining EV infrastructure, like chargers. There is also potential for the creation of new jobs in the electricity industry to generate the electricity needed to power EVs. This is an important step forward. We know our Federal colleagues are about to release their climate strategy policies and do it.
Coming from a regional area, a lot of these technology advancements, particularly in terms of batteries and longevity, require certain rare‑earth elements. Therefore, it is important to maintain a focus on the mining industry. Occasionally I see an element in our community that would shut down mining altogether and paint it in a very poor light. For example, there is a mining lease on the North Coast looking at some rare minerals—cobalt is one and lithium is another one. Those are key ingredients in the new generation of batteries. If we do not dig up the minerals and make them available to the industry, we will not get the efficiencies and generate the market. There is a balance. It is a bit like the COVID challenges we are facing at the moment. There is a balance between the health of the people and the economy, and it is a pretty fine balance. We should also put into the debate the ability to mine some of those special minerals that are required to make technology to charge those batteries. We cannot have one without the other, particularly in the regions where there is a fair way to drive between distances. I know some of my colleagues out west regularly clock up 100,000 kilometres a year in their vehicles as they travel hundreds of kilometres, which makes it fairly impractical to have EVs.
Extension of time
Increasing the uptake of EVs in New South Wales presents an opportunity to create new jobs in the EV industry. Those jobs can occur across the market. The continued growth of regional tourism in New South Wales will rely on the ability of small regional businesses to cater for the increasing number of EV drivers. This Government will support regional destinations across the State by providing $20 million in grants to small regional businesses such as motels, wineries and restaurants to install charging points for their guests. This Government will also roll out EV Tourist Drives across the State, promoting scenic regional driving routes and charging infrastructure needed to support an EV road trip. This initiative will encourage EV drivers to take a holiday in regional New South Wales, growing those local economies and supporting more regional jobs in the tourism industry. This Government will work to identify skills needed and opportunities for New South Wales workers to take up the EV jobs of the future. As part of that process, the Government has announced specialised training to support the introduction of electric buses in New South Wales in partnership with TAFE NSW and Volvo Bus Australia. 
That will involve short courses to help mechanics upgrade EV technologies, such as working safely with high-voltage systems. That is another example of the Government's strategy to involve many other agencies in the future and to involve our TAFE colleges that train lots of people. I know in my area enrolments at TAFE in Kingscliff are through the roof and we have a 30 per cent increase in apprentices, which is another great plus. The reform package has been developed in close consultation with industry and other stakeholders. It reduces barriers to purchasing and using an electric vehicle while ensuring that the State will have a sustainable and fair road funding system in the future. Overall, the Government is investing almost half a billion dollars to support electric vehicles over the next four years, making New South Wales the easiest and most affordable place to buy and use an electric vehicle in Australia. The Government should be applauded for its ongoing commitment to use renewable energy and electric vehicles, and the good people of New South Wales, both now and in the future. I commend the bill to the House.
Ms LIESL TESCH (Gosford) (15:57:53):
Via video link: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Welcome back to the Parliament of New South Wales, all the way from the beautiful Central Coast on Darkinjung country. It is a pleasure and honour to be here. When the energy Minister, now the Treasurer, tabled the Electric Vehicles (Revenue Arrangements) Bill 2021, he said, "It is a new thing." I say to the Parliament that this is very old innovation on a world scale. New South Wales, it is 2021. I was living in Paris in 2006. I would be sitting at a cafe and someone would jump out of their smart vehicle in their work clothes, plug it in, go upstairs, do whatever, and 15 minutes later they would be back in their gym clothes and in their vehicle again. In New Zealand in 2010 in the tiny village where I grew up, which has 250-odd people, there were three recharging stations on the side of the road.
This legislation is nothing like the New Zealand legislation that will see the government fleet of vehicles in the whole country be completely electric by 2026. We have a long, long way to go. I thank our shadow Minister for Transport for expressing her concerns, especially around range anxiety. I am sure a few of us in this Parliament, as leaders in our community, would [inaudible] electric vehicle some time ago. When charging stations first became available on the Central Coast, I googled it, and we have one place in my electorate—not even, it is in the Terrigal electorate. I thank Bells at Killcare in my electorate, which is not even available to the public, NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort and also Gosford Showground. In the Gosford electorate in 2021 there are three places to recharge vehicles in the public arena. Where is the leadership in this place as we introduce this legislation? I also thank Toyota. We do not have many choices in Australia, but Toyota introduced an affordable electric vehicle in its Corolla. It can even fit a wheelchair in the back.
During the bushfires, there was a clear lack of Federal and State leadership on the environment. I got my electric vehicle and I commend it to anyone who is thinking about taking that step. It is good that the Government is finally giving some incentives to support and improve the uptake of electric vehicles in this embarrassing country, which is coming last in the world at this point in time, and actually move somewhere into the future. We are going to be the dumping ground for petrol vehicles. I feel sad for the people who are more socio-economically disadvantaged, who are will be further behind when we bring this legislation to the floor. They will be paying more as they continue to pay fuel tax than people driving electric vehicles, who will be paying less to use the roads. It is definitely not a Labor environment bill by a long shot.
The uptake of vehicles in Australia is 0.78 per cent compared to 25 per cent in Europe last year. It is really embarrassing on a global scale. We are also quite interested in the way the Government is looking after its rich mates who can afford EVs such as Teslas, like my friend Jason, who was with the energy Minister on that day in September when they introduced some of these measures. I asked if he would be getting back credits for the luxury of driving an electric vehicle. Jay, good on you, mate. It is good for the environment. I know he has not driven it very far because he has been in lockdown. I know he will get out with his family and enjoy some long-range trips and give some feedback about the success of using charging stations around New South Wales.
Under the leadership of the Liberal-Nationals Coalition governments, our country and State are lagging dangerously behind. Last year EVs made up only 0.78 per cent of new car sales in Australia, which is the lowest rate in the OECD. We know how important it is for the future of young Australians to hit the target of net zero emissions by 2050. Transitioning motorists to electric vehicles, which are far more environmentally friendly, could and should be an important part of the process when taking the much-needed action on climate change. I know by now that [inaudible] is never going to be convinced of the merits and ideas based on environmental [inaudible]. That has been made abundantly clear with its decade-long track record of placing profit above people and the [inaudible] and the public good. It seems to me that the allure of innovation and profit-making is not enough to entice the Liberal Government to quit its determination to live in its environmental past.
For a party that always [inaudible] business and enterprise, the State and Federal Liberal governments have done almost nothing to support the present car industry in Australia or its future. Let us look at the facts. Since 2018, 50 per cent of Australians have indicated their interest in acquiring electric vehicles, yet the number of EVs sold is still at less than 1 per cent of new car sales. Perhaps that is because while the United Kingdom has 30 per cent of EV models that are considered to be affordable in its market, Australia allegedly has only four. I am sure I do not need to explain to those opposite what happens in a market that has high demand and low supply. In our case, the cost of EVs remain stubbornly high, meaning that being environmentally friendly is a luxury that only the wealthiest drivers can afford. That is not proper legislation that should be pitched in this country in 2021. It should not be the case that your income determines your ability to look after the environment that your children are inhabiting.
Australia cannot afford to waste any time in addressing climate change. This Liberal-Nationals Government needs to enter the twenty-first century and step up to the plate in so many more environmental issues. It can start by introducing to New South Wales, and Australia as a whole, a competitive and innovative market for electric vehicles. Not only do we need to invest in refuelling locations we also need to celebrate our Aussie innovation. We need to invest in many elements of the EV supply chain, not just electric vehicles. So it is not just about EV legislation and profits going to off-shore manufacturers; it is about millions of jobs that could be created across Australia now and in the future.
I came into this Parliament because I am passionate about people and decreasing our national carbon emissions. This is only part of the work we must do. In the absence of Federal leadership, it is good to see the New South Wales Government starting to make a change, but there are so many more ways we could improve this legislation. The concept of me having to take a photo and send it in every time I want to drive some kilometres and then having to stop driving—there are so many ways we could improve this legislation. It seems ridiculous that we cannot get it right. Today I also want to acknowledge the person who chalks the bike path where I walk my dog. Every day I go out there and someone has made the determined effort to actually let me know that it is a climate emergency and that we are custodians of this planet. I appreciate that, but I hope that person is also chalking the pavement of my Federal Liberal counterpart, Lucy Wicks, because the guts of environmental leadership in carbon pollution reduction are diabolical. The removal Julia Gillard's carbon tax was an absolute shame on Australia before the whole world.
We are in a climate emergency. Australia must have so much more than this electric vehicle legislation before the House. I believe both State and Federal Liberal governments are far too slow to act. If the School Strike 4 Climate kids were in this place—or the Girls Takeover Parliament crew that was in Parliament yesterday—I am sure we would have easily been running this Parliament virtually a long time before now, and definitely this change would have occurred a long time ago. I am 52 years old. We are legislating for the future—for the kids of the future. If this is the first real piece of good legislation we see in this Parliament regarding the future of our environment, it is a dire edict from this Government. Labor took a bold policy to the last election, yet the Liberals derided it. We will move an amendment to the bill to review this legislation after two years. This is a tiny start. We could, and should, be doing so much better.
Mr MARK TAYLOR (Seven Hills) (16:07:41):
It is a pleasure to speak in debate on the Electric Vehicles (Revenue Arrangements) Bill 2021 and cognate bills on this day, which a number of members have already indicated is a historic and important day in the New South Wales Parliament. It is also a very positive and hopeful time. On that note, I put on the record my acknowledgement and congratulations to all those who have been elected to the Government leadership team, particularly the Premier, Deputy Premier, the Treasurer and my colleagues in The Nationals who have done likewise. The objective of the Electric Vehicles (Revenue Arrangements) Bill is to impose a distance-related road user charge on registered operators of certain zero- and low-emission vehicles and exempt certain zero- and low‑emission vehicles from the payment of duty under the Duties Act 1997, particularly those found in chapter 9 of that Act.
The NSW Electric Vehicle Strategy is a key part of the Net Zero Plan and offers an exciting new opportunity for growing local businesses and employment, such as the supply, installation and maintenance of charging infrastructure, along with the associated production and manufacturing of electric vehicle [EV] components and systems, and battery recycling. On 21 June this year New South Wales' nation-leading Electric Vehicle Strategy was released. It includes $490 million in new funding over the next four years and a total of $2.6 billion over 10 years across New South Wales agencies to support the uptake of electric vehicles. The strategy is our plan to make New South Wales the easiest and most affordable place to buy and use an EV in Australia.
Actions under the strategy include removing stamp duty from EVs under $78,000 and 25,000 rebates of $3000 for EVs sold under $68,750. It also includes a $171 million investment in charging infrastructure to build ultra-fast charging stations every 100 kilometres along major New South Wales highways, every five kilometres along metropolitan commuter corridors, in areas with limited off-street parking, at commuter carparks and at regional tourism destinations. Moving the New South Wales transport sector to electric vehicles saves us money and reduces our reliance on fuels and the importing of oil. It improves air quality with resulting health benefits and, of course, will make our streets quieter.
The world is moving towards EVs, with countries such as Norway, Germany, Singapore and the United Kingdom setting target dates to ban sales of petrol and diesel vehicles. Major vehicle manufacturers have also made commitments to increase electric vehicles within their fleets. Increasing the number of EVs on our roads and powering them with renewable energy will help reduce emissions across the transport sector, contributing to the State's objective to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and towards halving our emissions by 2030.
The emerging markets for electric vehicles are a big opportunity for New South Wales. The latent demand for electric vehicles in Australia is huge, with over 50 per cent of people now consistently saying they would consider purchasing an electric car as their next vehicle. New South Wales will boost battery electric vehicle numbers by injecting $131 million to expand the public fast charging network to help stimulate more electric vehicle sales. Electric vehicles benefit individuals and the community. They produce no tailpipe emissions, have lower running costs than petrol and diesel vehicles, and provide health benefits through lower air pollution.
EVs are expected to change patterns of electricity consumption, the impact of which is already being considered and addressed. The New South Wales Government has prepared a charging master plan to identify optimal zones for the construction of fast and ultra-fast charging stations across the State. Over the next four years, the master plan will help to plan future New South Wales public fast charging stations. The master plan will also support industry and planners in finding ideal locations for public fast charging stations. Sites within and around the optimal zones indicated on the master plan will be prioritised for public EV charging.
Future locations for fast charging infrastructure and the number of chargers in them have been identified using robust methodology. That includes analysing a range of technical, social and economic considerations. Each optimal zone has been chosen based on a number of factors, including the projected electric vehicle adoption in the area, traffic movements, tourism data, vehicle ownership, local points of interest, the location of major cabling across New South Wales and available substation capacity. A prospectus and expression of interest will be available shortly for those sites for those interested in hosting stations. Funding rounds will open after the passage of legislation.
NSW Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020-2030
There will also be fleet incentives to support private and local council fleets to purchase battery electric vehicles, as previously committed to under the . Smart technologies will let EV owners charge their cars when power is cheap and plentiful—and direct from onsite solar PV systems—rather than relying on the grid at times of peak electricity demand. The New South Wales Peak Demand Reduction Scheme will also provide incentives to adopt smart charging. In the near future EV batteries will also be able to export power to the grid when it is needed, such as during times of peak demand or supply shortages, and people will get paid to do this.
The Australian Energy Market Operator reviews EV uptake and the impact on the grid as part of its annual forecasting and system planning process. The National Electricity Market bodies have also initiated technical and regulatory changes to integrate EVs with the grid and minimise supply and other price impacts. All these actions combined are designed to increase the sales of EVs to over 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030‑31, with the vast majority of new car sales by 2035 being electric vehicles.
The Government is also deferring the introduction of a fair and sustainable per-kilometre road user charge for EVs to July 2027 or when EVs make up at least 30 per cent of new car sales. This new road user charge for EVs will replace stamp duty on them and help to replace declining revenue from fuel excise, ensuring that we have the sustainable funding required to undertake critical roadwork over the coming decades. New South Wales is investing in incentives to drive an electric revolution in this State. The Electric Vehicle Strategy includes $490 million in new funding over the next four years to support the uptake of electric vehicles and a combined total of $2.6 billion over 10 years across New South Wales agencies. The time is ripe to invest, and via the Electric Vehicle Strategy the New South Wales Government is committed to increasing the uptake of EVs, allowing more people to benefit from their cheaper running costs and creating a cleaner, quieter and more sustainable transport method right across the network.
Mr JAMIE PARKER (Balmain) (16:15:58):
On behalf of The Greens I speak in debate on the Electric Vehicles (Revenue Arrangements) Bill 2021 and cognate bills. I acknowledge all of those Ministers who have received their new portfolios and, of course, our new Premier. I also acknowledge the work of our former Premier, Gladys Berejiklian. There is a lot in the Electric Vehicle Strategy that is positive and to be welcomed. However, what members are specifically discussing today is the revenue arrangements. The Greens are concerned about those arrangements. In particular, the abolition of stamp duty on the purchase of a new electric vehicle is good. It is positive, and we welcome it. However, imposing a distance-related road user charge [RUC] on registered operators of electric vehicles and creating four new offences is problematic, and we do not support those proposals. In fact, we will suggest amendments to try to improve the bill.
As members know, a critical issue is the way the user charge is applied. Our concern is that looking at the application of the road user charge—also known as "Transurban's travel tax"—the proposal in the bill is that stamp duty be scrapped from 1 September on new or used electric vehicles below $78,000 and on all EVs, new and used, after the RUC start date. Based on the average of 12,800 kilometres driven by passenger vehicles in New South Wales, and the initial 2.5 kilometre charge, the RUC will be around $320. People who live in electorates like mine do not travel a high number of kilometres in their vehicles. High kilometres are travelled in rural and regional New South Wales. We know that the implementation of the RUC will specifically impact people in rural and regional New South Wales, who tend to have lower incomes and travel longer distances to get to work and to access other essential services. It will be applied as a flat tax; it will apply to everyone regardless of their relative income or wealth.
The RUC provides for at least four offences with a penalty of $2,200 for individuals and more possible offences to be prescribed by regulations. This can attract further financial penalties and end up being dealt with by the courts. We are concerned about the imposition of those significant penalties and we oppose them. In order to correct many of the inequalities, privacy will be invaded. There will need to be exceptions but they will only be applied if people agree to GPS trackers being installed in their cars. The Greens are concerned that the RUC will form a large part of the State's eventual revenue base. That means it may well be in the Government's interests to keep people driving as much and as far as possible and not to move people off the roads and onto public transport.
With the cost of driving increasing, the cost of public transport can increase also while still maintaining the relative cost differential between the modes of transport. This will not provide extra incentive for people to use public transport. Incentivising people to use public transport is absolutely critical. It also does not encourage energy efficiency. Unlike the fuel excise levy, which charges an amount based on how much fuel is purchased and not on what is done with the fuel, the RUC will charge drivers regardless of how efficiently they drive, how energy efficient their model of car is or whether or not they source their energy from their own solar panels or from the dirtiest energy available at the time. We are very concerned about it because it does not encourage energy efficiency.
Another issue is that the fuel excise levy is a Federal tax imposed at the point of sale of fuel. The RUC is a State tax calculated after the event depending on how far the vehicle has travelled. It is not really a logical replacement for the fuel excise levy, and it is not logically connected to paying for the cost of State roads. Heavy vehicles, which cause the most damage to our roads, are exempted from the scheme. The tax is not scaled depending on the actual impact of the vehicle, how light or heavy it is. If EV drivers are supposed to pay for the impact on roads then why are internal combustion engine drivers not required to pay for the impact on our air quality? There are a lot of questions here, and we believe that the bill requires significant improvement.
As we have heard before, a key issue is the penalties under the scheme potentially being greater than the stamp duty savings. Unlike the fuel excise levy, which is paid up-front and based on how much fuel is bought, the RUC amount is not known in advance. It can be paid either up-front in lumps of 1,000 kilometres via the prepayment model, or after the event via the postpayment model. If prepayment is chosen in lots of 1,000 kilometres and the prepaid amount is exceeded, there is a fine of $2,200. Whether prepaid or postpaid if sufficient evidence is not provided to prove how much is travelled, there is a fine of $2,200. That is a significant impact and a very high fine.
The Greens note that, even under the Government's own estimates, EV sales are forecasted to be at least 50 per cent of the car market by 2030. Given that other countries are banning internal combustion engine vehicles after a period and car manufacturers are phasing them out, it will not be long until the RUC applies to all vehicles. Rural and regional New South Wales will be particularly impacted. With this legislation the Government implements a measure that in 2027, 2030 and beyond will have rural and regional people in uproar. I suspect people will look back at this debate in 2021 and recognise that this impact is something that members who represent rural and regional areas will have difficulty grappling with. Because of that, we think there are better ways to deal with this issue and resolve these tensions.
As the member for Gosford outlined, we like to think of ourselves as world leading. In fact, we are generally laggards in most areas. We have the dirtiest fuel quality amongst our comparative neighbours in the OECD and the poorest air quality standards. They are amongst the worst in the world and even lower than the World Health Organization standard, particularly when it comes to things like sulphur emissions from low-sulphur vehicles, and our lack of ability to get an exemption to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, known as MARPOL. Whether it is the national broadband network, euthanasia or electric vehicles, one of the problems we have is that we are late to the party. We should have learnt the lessons from other jurisdictions and the way that they have struggled with these issues.
On that basis, it is important that the bill be more progressive. We believe there should be higher prescribed road user charges for luxury vehicles and there should be some kind of progressiveness in the way that the charges are applied. For example, the same charge applies to an MG ZS, at a cost of about $43,000, and a Tesla Model S, at about $155,000. We say there should be a variation in those charges. In the same way there is a luxury vehicle tax, there should be a tax on those people who are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for their vehicles. It is important that the Minister provides an update.
The 2027 limit has been introduced because that is the estimated time when the Government perceives there will be a 30 per cent uptake in EV. If that is not the case, do we need to adjust that? An amendment to the bill could deal with that. I will not go through all the amendments because we are moving them in the other place, but it is clear that the bill can be improved quite significantly. While we know all of the environmental, health and community benefits from electric vehicles, one challenge that the Government will have, especially around the EV strategy, is implementation of charging. My communities in Ultimo, Balmain, Rozelle and more generally have a small pattern of development. I live on about 130 square metres, which is a significant housing lot in my area; it is not a small block. On a 130-square metre lot no-one has a garage. In order to charge, we need on-street charging. That is a real challenge.
At the moment the Government's commitment is one charger every five kilometres. That is a big distance for people who live in a built-up community like mine. Some shopping centres have charging facilities, but having charging stations locally will be critical. It will be a big challenge to manage. My street, for example, like most streets, has car-share parking spaces and car parking space is rationed really strongly. At the moment people can have only one car parking permit. As members know, throughout the City of Sydney and in other places zero parking permits are provided. In some places where people are wealthy enough to have a garage, no parking permits are able to be provided at all.
Providing charging facilities on the streets is very important. My community has mustered a petition with signatures from almost 2,000 people saying they want to have more opportunities for on-street charging. I welcome the opportunity for this tender process that I know the Government will deliver. I have been speaking with the Minister's office to make sure that we can support local community charging. I thank members for allowing me the opportunity to address these cognate bills. While The Greens do not oppose many elements in them, we want to work with the Government to try to be constructive about electric vehicles.
Ms YASMIN CATLEY (Swansea) (16:26:07):
First, I make very clear my support for the Electric Vehicles (Revenue Arrangement) Bill 2021 and cognate bills, but I must raise concerns about the Government's approach to reform in this space. During my time in this House I have been a passionate supporter of the wider adoption of electric vehicles, along with promoting the infrastructure investment required to support the transition. As the former shadow spokesperson for Better Regulation and Innovation, I had the great opportunity to help shape Labor's electric vehicle policy taken to the previous State election. It is thus pleasing to see that the Government has realised that policy, and what it has brought to the table is in line with bringing us up to speed and up to date. The Government's policy has been overhauled with some very positive outlooks. I note that the Minister is in the Chamber. He too has a passion for electric vehicles and has introduced this legislation into the House. It is pleasing to see that, and I thank the Minister very much.
Labor has long held the view that to help drive the expansion of the electric vehicle market, the New South Wales Government must begin transitioning its own fleet to electric vehicles. That is why Labor made that commitment in 2019. Previously, the Government had committed to only transition 10 per cent of all State vehicles to electric vehicles, which would have seen New South Wales lag behind other States. The bipartisan commitment to transition the Government vehicle fleet to electric vehicles will most definitely provide certainty for the electric vehicle industry, which is a great step forward. Of course, it will also provide a second-hand electric vehicle car market, which is also advantageous and will make electric vehicles much more affordable.
The Government's proposed investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the State is also very welcome and a great initiative. For the electric vehicle market to grow, consumers need certainty that recharge points will be accessible across the transport network, particularly in regional areas like those that I represent. It is the responsibility of government to take the lead in developing the electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support the expansion of the market. It has been a handbrake—pardon the pun—on electric vehicles thus far, so these initiatives are very welcome.
The growth of the electric vehicle market will not only help New South Wales to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions but also provide a fantastic opportunity to create local manufacturing jobs. In 2019 a PricewaterhouseCoopers report estimated that a new electric vehicle market could create 13,400 jobs nationally. New South Wales wants to grab a great big chunk of that. New South Wales should lead the way in electric vehicle adoption to capitalise on this opportunity to create thousands of local jobs. We cannot afford to miss this chance, and this bill is a great first step in achieving that.
Whilst there are several positive aspects of the Electric Vehicles (Revenue Arrangement) Bill, I have several concerns over proposed rebates, along with missed opportunities to go further in supporting new infrastructure and related workers' issues. Firstly, as part of the Electric Vehicle Strategy the Government announced $3,000 rebates on electric vehicle purchases. The rebate will be available on the first 25,000 electric vehicles sold for under $68,750 from 1 September 2021. The rebate is very Sydney-centric and will do nothing to help promote the uptake of electric vehicles in regional New South Wales, where infrastructure is the biggest impediment. As such, this is a missed opportunity for the Government to have proposed more ambitious planning reforms to advance the development of the electric vehicle infrastructure network.
In 2019 Labor proposed these very reforms, arguing for planning laws to be amended to introduce requirements for new developments such as apartment buildings to install charging outlets. That would rapidly speed up the development of the electric vehicle infrastructure charging network, particularly in regional areas. I note that the member for Balmain raised planning issues in the CBD as well. I think that his concerns, and the issues he raised, are very relevant. These are things that we should be looking at holistically to ensure that electric vehicle uptake is successful. The industry has made it clear that a lack of charging infrastructure that is holding the industry back. Simply adopting rebates to reduce the cost of electric vehicles is an unimaginative solution to speeding up the uptake of electric vehicles statewide.
I note the Government has promised $20 million for destination chargers to assist regional tourism, and $20 million for charging infrastructure at public transport hubs on land owned by Transport for NSW. But it will take more than just money to give the regions parity with Sydney when it comes to charging infrastructure; it will take policy innovation. The regions are already so far behind. Until parity is reached, the regions will be left behind in the electric vehicle revolution. The rebate scheme also threatens to leave regional communities behind in the electric vehicle transition while Sydneysiders will have access to better charging infrastructure benefits from subsidised vehicle purchases. As regional families look to purchase a new vehicle, an electric vehicle will simply not be an option due to infrastructure constraints.
A survey in November 2020 found the average cost of a new car in New South Wales was $38,665, while the average four-wheel drive cost $60,376 and a ute cost around $50,000. This will only further entrench the disparity between the costs of vehicles in regional areas versus the city. We already know the cost of registration is higher in the regions due to governments being forced to introduce the Toll Relief Scheme to compensate for the absurd cost of tolls under the Government. Governments have a responsibility to ensure they are achieving the best value for money when spending taxpayers' money, and I really have to question if this rebate scheme achieves that. I hold concerns that the scheme will be open to abuse and simply become a new form of middle‑class welfare. I urge the Government to take steps to ensure that the rebate scheme is not abused and that it is instead used to attract new buyers who would otherwise be unable to afford an electric vehicle.
The proposed rebate will be particularly jarring for many regional workers such as tradies who have to fork out over $50,000 for essential work vehicles without any government support, particularly as electric vehicles will also be exempt from stamp duty. I must say it is disappointing that, while the Government found the money to hand out $3,000 rebates, it could not find one cent to invest in support to help workers retrain to work on electric vehicles. Surely this would have been a better use of taxpayer funds that would have had flow-on effects for the economy through our motor mechanic industry.
As I stated before, the electric vehicle revolution is a jobs growth opportunity for our State, but it will require a government willing to invest in these jobs. Sadly, that is not what the workers of New South Wales are getting with this bill.
Why has the Government chosen not to invest in supporting mechanics to retrain so that they can work on electric vehicles? The Government has a responsibility to help those workers retrain as the market transitions to electric vehicles, and we certainly do not want to leave them behind. Not only has the Government failed to invest a single cent to support mechanics transitioning to electric vehicles, but also it has failed to provide funding to capitalise on the opportunity for the engineering industry. The growth of the electric vehicle market will provide job opportunities in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and electronic and communication engineering. We will be left behind if we do not invest in those job opportunities, and we risk worsening the skills shortage. I also implore the Government to invest in an education program to promote the uptake of electric vehicles. Labor made such a commitment back in 2019 and I hope the Government will adopt an education program to promote such an important sector.
Labor will seek to amend the legislation such that, after two years, the Act is to be reviewed to ensure that it is achieving its aims. The review will be conducted by a committee of the Legislative Council, with the terms of reference to be established by resolution. I reiterate my support for the bill and welcome the bipartisan support for the growth of the electric vehicle industry. It is pleasing to see that the Government has adopted many aspects of the electric vehicles policy that Labor took to the 2019 State election. I call on the Government to take on board the concerns that many regional members have raised in today's debate and to ensure that the regions are not left behind in the electric vehicle revolution. I would also like to see the Government commit to providing funding to support the job opportunities in this growing industry and to ensure that New South Wales is not left behind.
Ms FELICITY WILSON (North Shore) (16:36:15):
I contribute to debate on the Electric Vehicles (Revenue Arrangements) Bill 2021 and cognate bills. I am very happy to be back in this place with my colleagues today, particularly so that we can pass legislation like this and make a difference to people's lives now and into the future, as well as for future generations. One of the cornerstones of the 2021-22 budget is the legislation that we are considering today: the introduction of Australia's most generous electric vehicle [EV] package. The Government is committed to driving the uptake of electric vehicles because they are the way of the future. The legislation reduces the barriers and creates the right market conditions to ensure that New South Wales is not left behind. This nation‑leading reform is the brainchild of a couple of members of our team: our new Treasurer, and the Minister for Energy and Environment, Matt Kean; our new Premier and former Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet; and our outgoing Minister for Transport and Roads, Andrew Constance. I thank them for the work they have done to put together this package of legislation.
Unlike other jurisdictions, New South Wales has made the decision not to impose an EV road tax immediately. Instead it will be delayed until EVs are well established in the market in New South Wales. It is the most generous EV support mechanism of any State. The $490 million package includes $3,000 rebates, a stamp duty exemption and funding for a comprehensive EV charging network. The bill amends the Duties Act 1997 to phase out vehicle stamp duty on electric vehicles. That will be applied retrospectively from 1 September 2021. The registration of battery and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles sold for a dutiable value of up to $78,000 will be exempt from vehicle stamp duty, and I have flagged that we will move some amendments to ensure that it is up to and including $78,000. That will reduce the up-front cost of vehicles by up to $3,000 and is expected to save motorists around $200 million over the next four years.
The bill also establishes the framework for a road user charge on electric vehicles that receive a stamp duty exemption. As I mentioned earlier, the charge will not commence until the earlier of 1 July 2027 or when the battery electric vehicle market makes up at least 30 per cent of all new vehicle sales. That delayed commencement is key to the policy because it defers taxing the electric vehicle sector until it comprises a significant proportion of the market. In contributions to debate today, members have talked about the different proportions that EVs make up in global markets but New South Wales must reach that 30 per cent mark in order to really see development of the new market. The stamp duty exemption for electric vehicles will also expand to cover all zero and low emission vehicles, including hybrid electric vehicles, when the road user charge commences.
The world is moving towards electric vehicles and our international policy commitments are transforming global vehicle markets. Global demand for electric vehicles increased by 43 per cent in 2020 compared with 2019, with three million new electric vehicles registered in 2020. France, Japan and the United Kingdom plan to end the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles in the next 10 to 20 years, and Norway plans to end sales as early as 2025. Many car makers are responding by committing to electrifying their fleets and by retooling their production lines towards electric vehicles. For instance, Volvo will be a fully electric car company by 2030, General Motors will phase out internal combustion engines in light duty vehicles by 2035 and Hyundai will phase out internal combustion engines by 2040. However, electric vehicles currently constitute less than 1 per cent of new vehicle sales in New South Wales. Compare that with the market leader, Norway, where battery electric vehicles made up 55 per cent of new vehicle sales in 2020. In the United Kingdom, battery electric vehicles made up 7 per cent of new vehicle sales in 2020.
New South Wales must act decisively to capture the electric vehicle opportunity. Increasing the share of electric vehicles on New South Wales roads and powering them with renewable energy will be important in achieving the Government's commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In 2019 transport was responsible for 28 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, making up 20 per cent of New South Wales' emissions. Almost 50 per cent of those emissions came from passenger vehicles. That is why I acknowledge the significant work of Andrew Constance, in particular, as Minister for Transport and Roads for the role that he has played in transforming our broad transport network and system in order to reduce emissions into the environment. The work he has done with the electrification of buses and the removal of diesel buses will transform the way in which we go about travel and transport in New South Wales. It will also have a huge impact on air quality.
We talk a lot about air quality in relation to roads. I have heavy, main arterial roads in my community of North Shore because we are downstream of everybody else who is trying to get to the city. So by electrifying our vehicles we will have cleaner air for all to breathe. Electric vehicles do not produce tailpipe emissions of particle and gaseous air pollutants. Statistics show that motor vehicles account for 62 per cent of Sydney's nitrogen oxide [NOx] emissions, 24 per cent of volatile organic compound emissions and 14 per cent of particulate matter emissions. All of those pollutants have direct and indirect effects on the health of our communities. Reducing tailpipe emissions from vehicles can deliver significant health benefits across New South Wales and, as someone who has had two babies in the not‑too‑distant past, that is particularly important for pregnant women and babies as well as people with chronic illnesses and the elderly. Electric vehicles are also quieter to drive than petrol and diesel vehicles, which helps to improve the amenity of public spaces and reduces concerns about traffic noise.
Electric vehicles can save households money in the long run and they can support new industries, but they are also cheaper to run and maintain. An average New South Wales driver would likely save around $1,000 in running costs per year by switching to an electric vehicle. Increasing the uptake of electric vehicles in New South Wales presents an opportunity to create new jobs in the electric vehicle industry. Those jobs could occur in the manufacturing of components for, or in the installation and maintenance of, infrastructure such as chargers. Australia relies heavily on imports for liquid fuels—I know, as I spent many years working for an oil company here in New South Wales. Increasing the uptake of electric vehicles in New South Wales will reduce the State's reliance on imported fuels now that we are seeing the closure of domestic refineries across Australia—we have always relied on imported crude—and instead improve fuel security by using domestic energy generation.
Electric vehicles provide benefits for individuals and the community. As I have discussed, electric vehicles produce no tailpipe emissions, have lower running costs than petrol and diesel vehicles, and provide health benefits through lower air pollution. Through the strategy, the New South Wales Government is targeting key areas of action to make New South Wales the easiest place to buy and use an electric vehicle in Australia. The strategy includes rebates, the phased removal of stamp duty for electric vehicles, targets for our own New South Wales Government fleet, incentives for council and private fleets, and major investment to ensure widespread, world‑class electric vehicle coverage. The revenue changes included in the bill form part of the Government's broader NSW Electric Vehicle Strategy.
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