Anthony Albanese says Scott Morrison ‘dared’ manufacturers to leave

Scott Morrison has “dared” car manufacturers to leave with Australia on the cusp of a lucrative electric vehicle (EV) renaissance, Anthony Albanese says.

The Labor leader made the comments after touring an EV manufacturing plant in Queensland, where he warned Australia was lagging behind the rest of the world.

He claimed the government had “failed to take up the opportunities” provided through new technology by allowing car manufacturers to desert Australia.

“This government led by Scott Morrison told car manufacturers, essentially dared them, to leave,” he said.

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“We can’t just sit back and say the world isn’t changing. Every car manufacturer in the world is … looking at new technology.

“That’s just a fact, and we need to embrace it.”

The comments continue Mr Albanese’s emphasis on the jobs potential of a clean-energy future since a January reshuffle.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said new technology would drive Australia’s emissions reduction, but the government ruled out EV subsidies when releasing its Future Fuels Strategy last week.

It argued the market would ensure a natural uptake in sales, with Energy Minister Angus Taylor claiming emission reductions gained via EV subsidies were not cost-effective.

Iconic Australian car manufacturer Holden became defunct at the end of 2020, just months before its parent company General Motors (GM) announced it would phase out petrol cars by 2035.

Mr Morrison slammed GM last year for allowing Holden to “wither away” despite being granted millions in taxpayer subsidies.

But Mr Albanese said on Wednesday the government policy had robbed Australia of an opportunity to become a “world leader” in a new market.

He joined Labor treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers on a tour of Brisbane-based Tritium, which won a contract in June to export 1500 EV charging stations to overseas markets.

“Our product is better than anything produced in Europe or in North America,” Mr Albanese said.

“It shows how good Australia can be if we commercialise our science, if we commercialise the capacity of our innovation.

“But we haven’t always been good at it.”

The Electric Vehicles Council has revealed less than 1 per cent of new cars sold in Australia in 2020 were EVs.

That number was dwarfed by world leader Norway, where EVs accounted for 56 per cent of new vehicle sales.

EVs made up between 2.5 and 5 per cent of new car sales in developed nations.

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