The Greens' policies for making Australia's car fleet more efficient, launched in Melbourne today, would give Australia's car manufacturing industry a sustainable future, protecting jobs while protecting the climate.
The Greens are proposing introducing stringent Mandatory Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Standards for all vehicles sold in Australia. This would be backed up by an improved Green Car Innovation Fund, efficiency requirements for government procurement of vehicles and tying manufacturing subsidies to improvements in fuel efficiency.
"These policies will drag Australia's car manufacturing into the 21st century, giving the industry a future while helping create a safe climate future for all of us," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"Old thinking from governments and manufacturers alike has meant that we are making gas guzzlers in this country that nobody outside the Middle East wants to buy anymore. The Greens' policies would get us out of that dead end."
The Greens propose fleet average standards of 160g CO2/km to be adopted for 2015, with equivalence with the European standard (expected to be 95g CO2/km) to be achieved by 2020.
This compares to the government's recently announced weak targets of 190g CO2/km by 2015 and 155g CO2/km by 2024. Given that the cars we will be manufacturing in 2020 have not yet been designed, there is no justification for weak targets for so far into the future.
Greens Victorian lead Senate candidate, Richard Di Natale, said "Victoria's car manufacturing jobs can have a sustainable future in both meanings of the word.
"Instead of handing over millions of dollars to see us keep making gas guzzlers nobody wants anymore, our governments can and should be helping our industry go green, and that is what the Greens propose.
"With real Green Car Innovation grants - helping us leapfrog to plug-in electric cars instead of making slightly more efficient 6 cylinder petrol cars - and strong standards, Victoria can catch up with world's best practice instead of falling further and further behind."
Greens candidate for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, said "The Greens want to help people get out of their cars and into convenient public transport or onto bikes where possible. We have ambitious policies to make this happen.
"But when we do have to drive, we should be driving the most efficient cars possible, saving us money on our fuel bills, insulating us from peak oil and protecting the climate."
Senator Milne said "Governments should be leading the way with tied grants, standards and procurement policies."
The full policy document is attached.