$84.5 Million Pledged for Car Emissions Flawed

The Australian government’s plan to allocate $84.5 million over the next five years to establish a regulator for vehicle emissions monitoring is a prime example of bureaucratic overreach and inefficient use of taxpayer money. Announced in the federal budget on May 15, this initiative will see $12.6 million annually funnelled into a new entity, the Cleaner Car Regulator, which is set to manage the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES).

Labor’s new efficiency standard, effective January 2025, mandates annual tightening of emissions caps for automakers. This approach is touted to reduce passenger vehicle pollution by 60 percent and commercial vehicles and some large SUVs by 50 percent by 2030. While the goal is laudable, the means are deeply flawed.

The establishment of the Cleaner Car Regulator, endowed with sweeping powers to monitor, investigate, and penalize automakers, exemplifies the government’s preference for heavy-handed regulation over more collaborative and market-driven solutions. According to the Department of Climate Change, this new body can apply for court orders to levy fines and injunctions, further increasing the regulatory burden on the automotive industry.

Moreover, the regulator will also be responsible for checking green vehicle standards from 2025 and setting up a credit-trading platform. This platform ostensibly allows automakers to buy their way out of compliance through credits, raising questions about the actual environmental impact of such a system.

To ensure compliance, the regulator will calculate automakers’ sales-weighted average mass and CO2 emissions, comparing these against established limits. Falling short of these targets would trigger notifications of credits and debits to the relevant suppliers. This convoluted system adds layers of complexity and bureaucracy without guaranteeing significant emissions reductions.

Initially operating within the Climate Change Department, the regulator’s structure and efficacy will be up for review in 2026, suggesting even the government is unsure of its long-term viability.

Adding to this questionable policy is the allocation of $10 million for a national awareness campaign and $60 million over four years to install charging stations at car dealerships. While these measures aim to support the transition to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, they seem more like token gestures rather than substantial investments in sustainable infrastructure.

Overall, this policy represents a costly and cumbersome approach to addressing vehicle emissions, prioritizing regulatory control over innovation and collaboration with the automotive industry. Instead of fostering an environment where automakers can develop and implement greener technologies organically, the government is imposing an intricate web of mandates and penalties that may do little more than inflate the budget and stifle industry growth.


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One comment

  • Gary Burgess May 19, 2024   Reply →

    Gary Burgess.

    Presumably another fantastic idea from the brain dead Bowen and his master, I will give you an example of how stupid this Government is, the people mentioned above top of the class, I marched out of 1 RTB, in 1968 had those two rabbits been there at the same time they would still be trying to complete recruit training dumb as dog s**t.
    Have a nice forever.

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