Question Time: Electric Vehicles

Dr CLOSE (Port Adelaide—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:18): My question is to the Premier. Did the Premier conduct any modelling on the impact that the electric car tax would have on the take-up of electric vehicles prior to announcing the additional charging stations?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:18): Our government welcomes this focus on this outstanding electric vehicle program that we have: $18.3 million to help enable, in partnership with industry, a new statewide fast charging network, $3 million of which will be incorporated into smart charging as the Premier has already mentioned. Another key facet of this program—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: —is that the $80 million Fleet SA expenditure will start to transition away from diesel and petrol engines towards electric vehicles. We are putting our money where our mouth is. We are going to lead by example. Why are we doing this? Because we know that the cost of electric vehicles is coming down, we know that we want to contribute to help it come down faster and faster and we know that we need to put a fast charging network throughout all of regional South Australia as well as in metropolitan South Australia. People will have the opportunity to charge their electric vehicles at their homes, whether they live in the city or the country, but when they travel they will need a fast charging network so that they can travel comfortably and not have to stop for too long.

When it comes to travelling—and those opposite are asking how we are going to pay for our roads. It's very interesting. If you listen to the people opposite, Mr Speaker, they would have you believe that this has never been done before. That's just not true. Most people would consider the state of California in the United States to be the world leader with regard to the delivery of electric vehicle uptake in their state.

So to the member opposite's question with regard to modelling: we have looked very closely at what is done in California. They are the leaders; they are having the most success in this way. They recover funds towards the road network maintenance and development in exactly this way. We are saying we think we will have a look at it also. It is important to say that this measure will come to parliament. It will come to parliament, so everybody in this chamber and in the other house will have the opportunity to look at exactly what's on the table when the time is right.

Let me give you another example of why we know that this will only be a good thing for the rollout of electric vehicles: (1) it's proven to work elsewhere, and (2) we know that we will not be the only people in Australia—we will not be the only jurisdiction in Australia—to do exactly this. It is coming. Why is it coming? Because it's fair.