The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government will offer two years of free registration for zero-emission vehicles from May 2021 to encourage Canberrans to purchase electric vehicles.
They will also offer interest-free loans of up to $15,000 to purchase the vehicles, as well as rooftop solar panels, households battery storage, and efficient electric appliances.
However, the loans will be means-tested with a cap on people improving already valuable houses.
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The $150 million Sustainable Household scheme is part of the ACT Government's 2021 budget, with the incentives the first of their kind in Australia.
To prevent a rush of untrained operators coming to market, the government is considering introducing an approved list of products and suppliers when the scheme first starts.
Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury, said the ACT Government had one of the most ambitious agendas for addressing climate change globally, and was committed to supporting Canberrans through the transition.
“Having declared a climate emergency, we’re doing what it takes to cut greenhouse gas emissions and support the ACT community to withstand the impacts of the climate change we’re already experiencing," Mr Rattenbury said.
“This budget commits major new investment to help Canberrans live more comfortably and sustainably, tackling the biggest pieces in our emissions puzzle with a focus on phasing out fossil fuel gas and transforming ACT transport to be zero emissions."
Mr Rattenbury hoped the announcement would encourage Canberrans to go green who had previously been wary.
"We're aiming for an EV [electric vehicle] revolution over the next decade, with the ACT leading the transition to zero emissions transport," he said.
"Free registration and no-interest loans for zero emissions vehicles, along with a new network of 50 public charging stations for electric vehicles will make EV’s a real option for Canberrans who may have been hesitant until now."
The free rego may not just be limited to cars, with the government considering what constitutes an electric vehicle, looking to be flexible moving forward.
The ACT Government plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2045, with the 2021 budget planning to invest $307 million over five years to make progress towards that goal.
It plans to make it easier for households to get a cheaper energy deal by making it mandatory for electricity retailers to provide a reference bill for a typical customer, and to notify customers of cheaper plans.
Other measures include $5 million to support community clubs to undertake energy efficiency upgrades, and a $50 million fund to improve building efficiency and sustainability for social and public housing.
A spokesperson for the Canberra Liberals said they supported energy efficiency and reducing households bills, but needed to consider the details of the measures.
"We have concerns about loans being offered to people who are in financially vulnerable positions that may have difficulty in meeting the repayments," he said.
"For those families, other support mechanisms need to be available."
Electric vehicle sales may need a push in 2021, after only 246 more were sold in 2020 than the year prior, compared to 650,000 more petrol vehicles sold in 2020 than 2019.