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Thursday, 10 July 2014
Page: 4645

Senator MILNE (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (12:38): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to table an explanatory memorandum relating to the bill.

Leave granted.

Senator MILNE: I table an explanatory memorandum and I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansardand to continue my remarks.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—


Brand new Australian cars guzzle more petrol than new vehicles sold in China, India, Europe and Japan. Australians are just wasting money on petrol when we really don't have to.

Under this Bill, Australians will be able to take back control of rising petrol prices and reduce our reliance on imported oil as we see the fuel efficiency of Australia's cars improved by over 50% within 10 years.

This Bill would align Australia's fleet with the existing EU 2020 standards to achieve 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre for passenger vehicles by 2023—a three year delay. To put that into perspective our cars average 192 grams per kilometre, far higher than the global average.

Australian motorists will save around $850 a year on petrol under the scheme. After three years of driving a new car they will have paid off the expected increased upfront costs and will have freed up valuable income to spend on other things that are more important.

Not only will this Bill help motorists, but it will send a strong signal to our automotive trading partners like Japan who have the highest fuel efficiency standards in the world that we will be an enduring market for high-quality and efficient automotive products.

We will join the three-quarters of all cars sold in the global market that have a strong fuel standard. By adding Australia to the list, we will create more competition for ever-more efficient vehicles, rather than driving them towards those global markets with standards in place.

The scheme won't place any more pressure on Australian automotive jobs because it won't start until 2017 when Australian automotive manufacturers are closing down their operations. On the contrary, it will inspire a new market for high-quality products that those in Australia's supplementary automotive manufacturing industry are well-placed to exploit.

It will require the Climate Change Authority to review the effectiveness of the scheme and recommend to Parliament further targets beyond 2023.

Finally, it will help drive down Australia's pollution levels. Passenger vehicles currently create 10% of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions, but this is an area for easy pickings to drive massive reductions at no cost to government.

This Bill will save money for Australians, strengthen trade relationships, provide new opportunities for the automotive parts industry and rapidly reverse the 48% rise in vehicle emissions Australia has created since 1990.

It is for all these urgent reasons that I commend the Bill to the Senate.