By Celine Lai

The WA State Government announced its long-awaited Climate Policy  in November 2020.  The Climate Policy focuses on six areas that would decarbonise part of WA’s economy, including a WA State Electric Vehicle Strategy to help prepare for the transition to low and zero-emission electric vehicles.

There are currently 1,500 electric vehicles in WA, equating to less than one-tenth of one percent (0.1%)  of all passenger vehicles in the state.

Measures in the strategy, supported through an investment of $21 million, include the following initiatives:

  • Supporting the creation of an electric vehicle charging infrastructure network facilitating travel north from Perth to Kununurra, along the south-west coast to Esperance, and east to Kalgoorlie.
  • Setting a target of 25% electric small- and medium-sized passenger vehicles in the Government fleet by 2026. There are currently only 324 electric-powered or hybrid vehicles out of 8708 vehicles – a mere 3.7% – in the state vehicle fleet..
  • Developing and updating standards, guidelines, and planning approvals.
  • Improving levels of stakeholder awareness and knowledge.

Synergy reports that the cost of electric vehicles is forecast to hit parity with combustion powered equivalents by 2023, while ICT Minister Dave Kelly has said the costs of electric cars will be affordable in 5 to 10 years time.

The Electric Vehicle Strategy should help prepare for the transition to low and zero-emission electric vehicles by planning for  electric vehicle charging points across the State from north to south. However,  it merely sets an “aspirational goal” to reduce total emissions to net zero by 2050.

The Conservation Council of WA maintains that the policy failed the key test on cutting pollution, because it does not set legislated targets to reduce greenhouse gasses.

Greens MP Tim Clifford said that the Climate policy was just another aspiration from a government that continued to fail to take real action on climate change.