Budget win for new bypass;

not so good for EVs

Roads across the Central Coast benefited in the 2023-24 NSW Budget, handed down last night, as the Minns Labor Government locked in funding to get the game-changing Gosford bypass project moving again. But the the move to encourage more people to purchase EVs has a sting in the tail.

Member for The Entrance, David Mehan (right) discusses the new bypass with local residents Mr and Mrs Skelton.

20 September 2023



MINISTER for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison confirmed on Friday that funding to start detailed planning and design work for the next stage of the Gosford bypass would be in the Budget to be handed down yesterday.


“Central Coast locals have been calling for action to get the Gosford bypass project moving again and the Minns Labor Government will deliver on our election commitment to fund the missing fourth stage link of the bypass,” Minister Aitchison said.


“Work on the bypass stalled in 2016 and local roads were left in congested, pothole-ridden states of disrepair under the former Government.”


Minister for Central Coast David Harris said the Budget would delivered millions of dollars in new funding to local councils as part of a new $390 million Regional Emergency Road Repair Fund.


“This new funding will help Central Coast Council undertake work where it is needed most – fixing potholes and resurfacing and rehabilitating our local road network, Minister Harris said.


“Council has been asking for this money for local roads and it will be in their bank account later this year so they will be able to get to work straight away, fixing those local roads our community need to drive on each and every day.”


Minister Aitchison said that she was a pleased the budget had locked in funding as part our $334 million Regional Roads Fund.


Member for The Entrance David Mehan said the Gosford bypass has been bumper-to-bumper for far too long, but the former Liberal government ignored the need to get work on the missing bypass link moving again.


“With this budget funding locked in, work can now begin to get the missing link built and travel times improved for the more than 30,000 motorists who use the Pacific Highway daily, but more importantly it will improve pedestrian safety for my constituents,” David Mehan said.


Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch said community advocacy for extra funding to fix local roads had paid off.


“I am very pleased to see the Minns Labor Government is listening to locals and locking in this funding for the Gosford bypass and our local council in the Budget. It is welcome news after 12 years of neglect.”


Member for Swansea Yasmin Catley said that after 12 years of neglect this is a valuable investment into the roads and people of the Central Coast.


“We’re finally getting our fair share of funding. I’m thrilled the Minns Labor Government sees the value of investing in this area and improving our critical transport links,” she said.


And while the Central Coast roads benefit from last night's budget, the Treasurer announced $260 million will be invested to increase electric vehicle uptake in NSW to help achieve Net Zero emissions targets.


The funding will underpin the rollout of a new NSW EV Strategy, which will be developed in partnership with industry stakeholders, to boost investment in critical EV infrastructure.


The Government will prioritise investment in infrastructure for drivers in regional NSW, renters and people who live in apartments, and people who don’t have access to home charging so they can still take advantage of the cost savings from owning an EV. It will fund projects such as fast chargers on commuter routes, more kerbside chargers near apartment blocks, and upgraded grid capacity and charging hubs to support fleets.


This will ensure NSW is ready for EV ownership on a massive scale.


As part of the Government’s reform package, rebates for EV purchases and exemptions for stamp duties will cease on 1 January 2024. However, transitional arrangements will ensure those who have purchased or placed a deposit on an eligible EV, and are awaiting delivery of the vehicle, will still be eligible, regardless of whether the vehicle has been delivered by that date.


These incentives are being phased out because they risk driving up the cost of EVs, resulting in increased profits to manufacturers.


A Road User Charge will commence as planned from 1 July 2027 (or, if earlier, when battery EVs make up 30 per cent of new light vehicle registrations) and will apply to all zero and low emissions vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, registered for the first time or transferred from 1 January 2024.


Minister for Energy and Climate Change Penny Sharpe said, “Increasing the number of electric vehicles on our roads is an essential step to NSW getting to Net Zero emissions.


“To facilitate EV uptake, the NSW Government will increase funding to essential infrastructure.


“Whether it is in apartment buildings, commuter car parks or kerbside, we are committed to making sure the infrastructure is in place to get electric vehicle drivers from A to B.”


Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said, “It’s important the scarce taxpayer dollars we have to transition to electric vehicles are being well spent.


“The benefits of government spending shouldn’t be concentrated in the hands of the few, we must ensure it’s spread across the whole state.


“Savings gained from cutting these costly exemptions and rebates will be reinvested, where it is needed, to deliver a more equitable and efficient EV roll out.”


Editor's comment:


As the owner of an electric vehicle, very few EVs qualified for the previous stamp duty rebate on purchase. A quality EV, which wasn't going to fall apart within five years and more than likely leave the purchaser wondering why they were now up for the massive cost of a new battery, DID NOT QUALIFY for any government exemptions. It's the old adage - you get what you pay for.


Road taxes, etc, are already accounted for in registration, and with EVs the slice of the fuel tax disappears but don't kid yourself if you think that when you pull up to a kerbside charging station that the hitherto tax won't have been factored into the cost to charge your vehicle.


So, more expensive vehicle registration will hardly be an incentive for people to buy EVs. And unless our governments have the 'bright spark' moment to replace baseload power, in upgrading grid capacity with fully sustainable, greenhouse gas-free energy, charging your EV from a charging station, or overnight on off peak rates, means that greenhouse gases are still being produced to generate the electricity needed - achieving net zero emission targets from more EVs on the road won't happen. Good for the government in extra taxes, bad for EV drivers.


But I don't regret purchasing an EV. I don't regret that I didn't receive any concessions from the government. Why? Because I, many years ago, invested in a home solar system that not only runs my house and charges the house batteries but will also charge my EV during the day - there is no dependence on fossil fuel, whatsoever. In fact, the last time I paid an energy bill was October 2005, and a very small one at that.


Now I understand that not everyone can do what I have done but government can still have that 'bright spark' moment and see what has been staring them in the face for a long time. See what other countries around the world have embraced - not solar farms, not wind farms and not gigantic storage batteries but concentrated solar thermal energy power plants. Greenhouse gas-free, continuous baseload grid power, twenty-fours a day, seven days a week. The irony of this scenario is that the CSIRO already have a pilot plant operating in Newcastle - so why can't our governments truly embrace a renewable and net zero future and see what right in front of their eyes?


While the USA, Israel, India, China, Spain, Morocco, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, South Africa and Chile move to sustainable, greenhouse gas-free energy, Australia is still sharpening its stone axes.

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