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NSW plan to incentivise electric vehicle use wins praise from environmental, urban policy groups

Environmental and urban policy groups alike have praised the NSW government’s plan to abolish stamp duty on electric vehicles and incentivise the adoption of the vehicles over the next decade.

But the Labor opposition has called on the government to “show more ambition” and create an opening for NSW in the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain.

The $490 million four-year package, to be included in the upcoming state budget, includes stamp duty exemptions on purchases of new EVs under $78,000 and cash rebates of $3000 for 25,000 new EV buyers.

It also postpones the imposition of an EV “road user charge” until either 2027 or when new EVs make up 30 per cent of new vehicle purchases.

This charge – which from 2027 will be 2.5c per kilometre in today’s dollars – compensates for the government’s loss of fuel excise revenue.

“Our comprehensive strategy is about making sure we have the right mix in place to incentivise the take-up of electric vehicles while ensuring everyone who drives on our roads contributes to funding and maintaining them,” Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said in a statement.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the average NSW driver would save about $1000 in running costs if they switched to an EV.

The government is aiming to increase EV sales to more than 50 per cent of new cars sold in NSW by 2030, and the “vast majority” of sales by 2035.

This is required for NSW to meet its 2050 net-zero emission target.

The Nature Conservation Council said the package marked “the beginning of the end of the internal combustion engine’s 120-year monopoly” in NSW.

Some 20 per cent of NSW’s carbon emissions come from the transport sector, with almost 50 per cent of those emissions from passenger vehicles.

Committee for Sydney chief executive Gabriel Metcalf also praised the plan, saying in a statement that it was a “major public health win” which would reduce Sydney’s air pollution and reduce emissions.

Mr Metcalf said the committee had advocated for an immediate imposition of a road user charge, but would accept the government’s six-year delay.

The government pledged to spend $171 million on new EV charging infrastructure and $33 million to transition the government fleet to EVs.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said the policy would place NSW “amongst the advanced global pack” on EV policy and would incentivise manufacturers to sell affordable EVs in the state.

“This package, frankly, represents how grown-ups do reform – consultative, balanced and long-sighted,” Mr Jafari said in a statement.

Yet opposition leader Chris Minns said in a statement on Sunday the policy was not ambitious enough.

“We need a plan to make NSW an EV technology leader, not just an importer of parts and an exporter of raw materials,” Mr Minns said.

“Labor welcomes the government’s measures … now we need to think big and carve out a role for NSW manufacturing in the EV supply chain.”

The EV package was among a bevy of policy announcements made by Mr Perrottet on Sunday ahead of Tuesday’s budget.

Community and mobile preschools in NSW were made free on a permanent basis, following on from emergency COVID-19 pandemic assistance.

Sydney’s Macquarie Street will be revamped into a “cultural hub”, while NSW cultural institutions such as museums will be allocated an additional $40 million to attract international exhibitions.

In health, the government will spend $50 million on a children’s neuroscience facility in Randwick and $8.6 million to support those with Parkinson’s disease.

The budget will also add $57 million to a pre-existing program helping hundreds of rough sleepers into housing over the next two years.

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