NSW Minister lashes Canberra for inaction on climate policy

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has criticised his federal counterparts for a lack of leadership on climate action, accusing some of underestimating the impact of global warming on future generations, and leaving the states to “go it alone” on reform.

Mr Constance lamented the “crazy attitude” some federal ministers held towards electric vehicles, adding that the Labor Party possessed a strong policy on EVs ahead of the 2019 election.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance.Credit:Louise Kennerley

Months after NSW announced it would abolish stamp duty on electric vehicles in an attempt to drive uptake of the technology, Mr Constance said no government in Australia should own a fleet car with a combustion engine by 2030.

“You know I get highly agitated when I hear federal politicians, not understanding how serious this is for our country and our children,” Mr Constance told a Committee for Sydney event on Tuesday.

Mr Constance, who in June committed to converting the NSW rail network to renewable energy by 2025, said that many state government initiatives were being met with “nothing” from Canberra.

“It irritates me no end that we have these great state-based initiatives and…there is nothing that’s been provided from Canberra to be able to partner with the states in terms of the initiatives that we’re doing,” he said.

“I certainly feel at a national level we’ve got this great ability to reset the public discourse in terms of climate change policies…. Forget the 2050 target, we can get on with this now to generate jobs, to generate innovation and transport can lead the way.”

He later told the Herald that the federal government needed to do more to encourage private sector growth in the renewables sector.

“We can’t make this whole debate about targets, it has to be practical measures that drive innovation. You need federal support for industry, manufacturing, research and development,” he said.

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