The Federal Opposition has accused the Government of being "asleep at the wheel" following a voluntary emissions scheme announced by the car industry last month.
Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Butler, criticised the Government for its "inaction" for failing to implement emissions targets, which he says makes Australia an outlier among OECD nations.
A spokesperson for the Minister for Transport, Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, told CarAdvice the Government welcomes the industry-led approach, which supports consumer choice and the voluntary uptake of technology.
In July 2020, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) – the lobby group for the major car companies in Australia – announced a voluntary emissions target scheme for new cars sold locally from 2021 to 2030.
Minister for Transport, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.
The measures create a roadmap for car manufacturers, with new models required to reduce CO2 outputs by set percentages each year, through to 2030.
The Deputy Prime Minister's office told CarAdvice the Government would not be implementing more stringent CO2 standards, instead favouring a technological approach to reducing emissions.
"Unlike the policies Labor took to the last election, this should not increase the cost of a new car or restrict the types of vehicles available in the Australian market," the spokesperson for Mr McCormack said.
The FCAI claims the voluntary emissions scheme won't lead to higher car prices – because there is no financial penalty for brands that don't hit their targets – and will help secure more efficient models previously overlooked for the Australian market.
Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Butler.
According to Labor's Mr Butler, the previous Turnbull Government claimed improved standards would save motorists $500 per year, as well as providing a benefit to the environment.
"Voluntary industry standards just demonstrate the fact the Morrison Government remains asleep at the wheel when it comes to saving motorists money and reducing pollution," Mr Butler told CarAdvice.
But the Deputy PM's spokesperson says the Government is developing a strategy "to support consumer choice for future fuel technologies, including more efficient internal combustion engines, hydrogen fuel cell cars, hybrids and electric vehicles".
Australia's current emissions regulations are based on the Euro 5 standard, introduced in Europe in 2009, while the European Union is set to bring in far stricter Euro 6d regulations from 2021.