Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action tackle transport emissions
Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie and her Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action have hosted a forum showcasing the opportunities involved in driving down Australia’s transport emissions.
“Transport is the third-largest source of emissions behind electricity and the latest Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas inventory has shown that transport emissions are rebounding quickly as COVID-19 restrictions ease,” Rebekha said.
“Our multi-partisan group shares a common goal of progressing climate action in this Parliament.
“This forum was a chance for all Members, Senators and their advisers to hear directly from key stakeholders in the clean energy transport sector.
“Our guest speakers included Tim Washington, the Chair of the Electric Vehicle Council Australia, and John Blackburn, a strategic policy expert who has published a number of reports on Australia’s liquid fuel security for the National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA).
“We also heard from the Norwegian Ambassador, Paul Gulleik Larsen, who spoke about his country’s uptake of electric vehicles. Norway is currently leading the world in the uptake of low emissions vehicles and over 50 per cent of new car sales are 100 per cent electric vehicles.”
Another guest speaker was Claire Painter, the Corporate Communications Manager at Mercedes-Benz Australia, who spoke about her company’s commitments to electrify their product line-up, beginning with the EQC model released in 2020.
Ms Painter was previously a transport researcher at Climateworks and a business development manager at the Commonwealth Department of Industry.
The event finished with an opportunity for Members to get up close to the Mercedes-Benz EQC electric vehicle outside Parliament House.
“This forum was a conversation, but we hope it will also be a conversation starter,” Rebekha said.
“Today’s discussion extended beyond mapping out an exciting future of what is possible.
“It outlined the exciting opportunities of a well-managed electric vehicle transition in Australia and its role in decarbonising our transport sector, improving our fuel security, improving local air quality, reducing the cost of vehicle ownership for everyday Australians, and the flow-on effect in our innovative tech start-ups and manufacturing industries.
“Until recently, Australia had a strong and proud tradition in automotive manufacturing, especially in my home state of South Australia with Holden and Mitsubishi. The loss of automotive manufacturing resulted in hundreds of direct and indirect job losses.
“We should not accept that the closure of traditional high-volume vehicle manufacturing was the end of our vehicle manufacturing endeavours in Australia.
“The introduction of many new electric vehicle manufacturers across the globe demonstrate that enormous opportunity still exists and that a new era of specialised low volume vehicle manufacturing in Australia remains a tantalising possibility.
“We still retain vehicle manufacturing expertise, supply chains, design and engineering capability and recently showcased this collective capacity with the production of the Bradham supercar in Adelaide.
“We’ve built quality high-volume vehicles and have now built a high-value hyper performance car.
“There is a future in Australia with a renewed interest in Australian based manufacturing to pool the experiences and capabilities that already exist to again build cars.
“We can also learn from the experience of the global manufacturers who, as we’ve heard today, are moving to electric vehicle manufacturing.”
Rebekha and the Independent Member for Indi, Helen Haines, are the co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action Co-Chairs with the Independent Member for Warringah, Zali Steggall, the Deputy Co-Chair.
Photo: Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action Rebekha Sharkie, front left, Helen Haines and Zali Steggall; and Friends member the Liberal Member for Higgins Katie Allen, right; with forum guest speakers the Norwegian Ambassador Paul Gulleik Larsen, back left, Richie Merzian from the Australia Institute, former Deputy Chief in the Royal Australian Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn (Retd), the Corporate Communications Manager at Mercedes-Benz Australia, Claire Painter; and the Chair of the Electric Vehicle Council Australia, Tim Washington.