Australians Yet to See Clean Transport Cost of Living Savings in Federal Budget
11 May 2023: Australians Yet to See Clean Transport Cost of Living Savings in Federal Budget
Solar Citizens today responds to the significant lack of focus on clean transport spending within Tuesday’s Federal Budget. Solar Citizens National Director Heidi Lee Douglas said that although the organisation warmly welcomed investment in clean energy in Tuesday night’s budget, she hopes that the government soon starts to deliver on the significant opportunity for cost-of-living savings from clean transport.
“Rising fuel prices due to Russia’s war in Ukraine have left Australians dealing with record high fuel prices at the petrol pump. High fuel prices are especially bad for regional Australians, who on average drive further, have older, more inefficient cars, and pay more at the petrol pump than people in cities. This means a higher portion of regional Australians’ income is being guzzled up and sent offshore to foreign oil barons,” said Douglas.
“In addition to its commitments to a Fuel Efficiency Standard and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, this Government should now focus on ways to secure smart, effective cost-of-living savings for Australians from clean transport.
“We can essentially eliminate household fuel bills if we marry electric vehicles with the rollout of more home solar, enabled by the low‑interest loans for energy‑saving home upgrades in this Federal Budget. This would be a massive saving for Australians’ hip pockets amid ever-rising household costs.
“In addition to what’s already included in the program, the Federal Government should extend the low‑interest loans for energy‑saving home upgrades to e-bikes. Households could see huge savings by swapping out their second car for an e-bike, and also reduce congestion on our roads and carbon emissions.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that Transport Minister Catherine King would conduct a 90-day review into infrastructure projects, to assess which projects are the highest priorities for Australia’s national interest.
“We welcome Minister King’s 90-day review into infrastructure projects, and urge her to address ways that sensible, long-sighted transport decisions can help reduce cost-of-living,” said Douglas.
“We urge the Government to prioritise walking, cycling, and public transport infrastructure when assessing projects during this review – putting people and the planet first.
“Building and widening urban freeways encourages more driving, causes congestion and carbon emissions, and is an expensive option for households while petrol prices skyrocket. Instead, building more walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure gives people a low-cost, low-carbon and healthy alternative to driving, while also reducing congestion”
“Solar Citizens supports the Climate Council’s call for 50% of the transport budget to be spent on public transport and 20% to be spent on walking and cycling, but any shift in this direction would be very welcome.”
Tuesday night’s budget commitments for clean transport include:
Reducing Transport Emissions
The Government will provide $20.9 million over 5 years from 2022–23 for initiatives to decarbonise the transport and infrastructure sectors and support achieving the net zero by 2050 target. Funding includes:
- $7.8 million over 4 years from 2022–23 to develop a Transport and Infrastructure Net Zero Roadmap and Action Plan to support the decarbonisation of the transport and infrastructure sectors
- $7.4 million over 4 years from 2023–24 to develop Fuel Efficiency Standards to encourage light vehicle manufacturers to increase the supply of fuel efficient and electric vehicles in the Australian market
- $5.2 million over 4 years from 2023–24 to support Australia’s transition to electric vehicles through the development of a national charging infrastructure mapping tool, safety guidance and training for emergency service workers. Funding will also support the evaluation of requirements for retrofitting existing multi-residential buildings with electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and a large format battery recycling, reuse and stewardship initiative in Australia
- $0.6 million in 2023–24 to develop a Maritime Emissions Reduction National Plan to facilitate the energy transition for the domestic maritime sector.
ABOUT SOLAR CITIZENS:
Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organization working to protect and grow renewable energy and clean transport in Australia. Our website is https://www.solarcitizens.org.au/
MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Heidi Lee Douglas, National Director, Solar Citizens
m: 0401 092 570 | e: [email protected]