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Council pushes Canberra to get serious about electric vehicles

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Australia’s largest local council is pushing the Morrison Government to ensure all new buildings are equipped with electric vehicle charging stations as part of the transition away from petrol-driven transport.

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Brisbane City Council says the lack of charging stations is one of the major commercial barriers to large commercial and government organisations including electric vehicles in their fleets.

It also says national building laws should be reformed to ensure electric vehicle charging points become part of new building as a matter of course.

The council’s call is contained in its submission to the government’s much-maligned Future Fuels Strategy discussion paper, prompted as part of the drive to ensure Australia has the right policies for new vehicle technologies.

The submission criticises the discussion paper for making no mention of improved air quality as being one of the major benefits of alternative fuels and technologies and was crucial to making the “case for change”.

It also says while public chage points for electric vehicles may partly fill the need for convenience, a more cost-effective way would be including charge points in the base-build of new apartment complexes.

“There is no requirement under most current planning provisions or under the National Construction Code to include EV recharging infrastructure into the base-building at time of build, which is the most cost-effective way to include charge points,” the council submission states.

“This creates new building stock that is not future-proof and EV-ready and exacerbates the problem of access to chargers in inner city areas.”

Brisbane City Council joins a growing line of critics of the Future Fuels Strategy discussion paper. Renewable energy advocate have described the proposals in the paper as confused, unambitious and having unclear objectives.

The government produced the discussion paper in February and has promised a response to submissions by mid-year.

Australia trails the rest of the world in the take-up of electric vehicles, which account for less than one per cent of local sales competed with a global average of 4.2 per cent. In the UK and Europe, sales are nearing 10 per cent.

For its part, the council has embraced a formal strategy to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles to help meet it targets for cleaner air in the city.

“Council has been committed to the trial and evaluation of alternative fuels and technologies for many years, with the first electric vehicles (EV) procured for Council’s fleet in 2010,” its submission states.

“Council has made a significant investment in low-emission public transport services, with an electric Brisbane Metro service, a specialist depot for electric charging and the trial of four electric buses.”

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