Labor is expanding its commitment to making Tasmania a national leader in electric transport technology creating thousands of skills jobs for Tasmanians and by harnessing our hydro power advantage.
This investment will be the next step in Tasmania becoming self-sufficient in both electricity and transport fuel consumption. It is the next step in building an economy of the future.
Opportunity for Change
It took vision and leadership from Labor Governments to drive the transformation of the Tasmanian economy through hydro industrialisation.
The construction of dams, poles and wires and an abundance of cheap, renewable energy attracted new industries and supported the creation of thousands of new jobs. The hydro network remains the backbone of our economy but this intergenerational investment is under threat from declining energy demand and the take-up of residential solar installations.
Rooftop solar installations in Tasmania are forecast to jump four-fold over the next decade. The emergence of high capacity and relatively cheap battery storage technology means many people are likely to go off the grid altogether. The loss of even one of our major industrials would have significant consequences on our distribution system.
This very real threat to Tasmania’s economy requires strategy, forward-thinking and leadership from government.
The opportunity for Tasmania is not to stop this change – it is to embrace it.
Demand for household energy may be falling, but there is one area where our appetite for energy is insatiable – fuel for transport.
Tasmania has the highest rate of car ownership in the country. We spend more than $1 billion on petrol and diesel imports every year. We also pay amongst the highest fuel prices in the country.
Refocussing Tasmania’s energy network to support new electric vehicle technology not only provides savings in energy costs, it has the potential to create an entirely new industry for our state, built on our renewable energy capacity.
Labor will commit $7.5 million to roll out a staged plan to make Tasmania a leader in electric vehicles.
Labor will provide $2.5 million to take a leadership role in developing a network of electric vehicle charging stations for Tasmania. A carefully planned network of fast charging stations will extend the range of electric vehicles. This is crucial if we are to market Tasmania as an electric vehicle friendly place to visit.
Labor will use the $3.5 million previously allocated to Caterpillar in Burnie to establish a pilot program to convert existing Metro busses to run on electricity. This program would retain specialist manufacturing jobs on the North West Coast and establish a new, modern industry for the region.
Labor will provide $1.5 million to pilot the roll-out of electric vehicles across the Government vehicle fleet. We would also work with local government and the University of Tasmania to achieve economies of scale in fleet purchasing.
Investing in our Future
Labor recognises that electric transport is a game changing future technology that is developing rapidly and that’s why Government needs to play an active role to ensure a coordinate, strategic approach.
We’ve got an opportunity to create skilled jobs in advanced manufacturing and dramatically reduce the amount we spend on fuel but the Government isn’t interested. The Liberals hand-off approach could see Tasmania miss out on the advantages of early adoption.
The last thing Tasmania can afford is for billions of dollars worth of infrastructure to become stranded because we have allowed the world and technology to pass us by.