Australia is at a “standstill” when it comes to bringing its emissions standards into line with the rest of the world, with one senior car company executive claiming: “I can’t find anyone in Canberra to talk about it”.
Hyundai’s senior manager for future mobility and government relations, Scott Nargar, has revealed Australia came close to upgrading current Euro V emissions standards – which are now 10 years behind Europe – in the lead-up to this year’s Federal election.
However, discussions ended after the government was re-elected.
“We’re not seeing any change anytime soon with emissions regulations in Australia,” said Mr Nargar during a media preview for the company’s rollout of three new versions of the Hyundai Ioniq hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric car.
“Myself and a number of the guys in the industry, the FCAI (Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries), the oil companies, and the AAA (Australian Automobile Association) worked very hard with the... current government in the lead up to the election to look at emissions regulations in Australia,” said Mr Nargar.
“We were very close. There was a decision between ‘is it 2025 or was it 2030’?,” he said.
“Unfortunately, post-election, emissions regulations are off the table. I can’t find anyone in Canberra to talk about it, though we spent months and years talking about it with Minister Frydenberg and Minister Fletcher and the department. So we’re... kind of at a standstill at the moment.”
Mr Nargar said that given the next Federal election is not due until “around May 2021” there is “no conversation about emissions regulations”.
Nevertheless, he said, “behind the scenes the industry is... looking at what’s going to happen if the next government gets in is a Labor Government”.
The car industry is “introducing vehicles right now that will help us meet regulations in the future”, said Mr Nargar, but he warned that government regulations needed to catch up.
“Vehicles are coming... and consumers are going to have more choice in Australia,” he said. “If we’re not working with government and industry planning the infrastructure right now, we’re going to have big problems when big volumes of vehicles start coming from many manufacturers.”
Hyundai Australia chief operating officer John Kett added: “Behind the scenes we might have a few battles… but we don’t want to sound frustrated because we’re not,” he said, adding that the company will work with the government of the day and comfortably meet any future emissions standards as and when they are rolled out.