EV, PHEV And Hybrid Incentives Headline MTA SA / NT Industry Transition Budget Submission

Addressing skill shortages, cutting red tape and an industry in transition feature in the Motor Trade Association SA / NT’s 2024-25 State Budget submission to the Government of South Australia.

As part of the submission, the MTA SA / NT has called for the reintroduction of incentives for the purchase of new EVs and expanding the programme to include plug-in hybrid and traditional hybrid vehicles.

“At a time when electric vehicles still command a price premium, consumer incentives must remain if we are to drive our decarbonisation,” said Darrell Jacobs, CEO of the MTA SA / NT.

The association proposes that the government reinstate the $3,000 incentive for EVs valued below $68,750, adding that the incentives should also be made available to plug-in hybrid vehicles at $2,000 per vehicle and traditional hybrid vehicles at $1,000 per vehicle.

Jacobs argued that the time was right for the state to strengthen its position as a national leader in the decarbonisation of transport. “Whether through solar, wind or battery uptake, South Australia has always been at the forefront of efforts towards net zero,” he said.

However, Jacobs warned there would be transition ‘speed bumps’ if ordinary South Australians cannot afford a zero and low emission vehicle that meets their needs. “With cost-of-living front of mind for all households, affordability remains one of the top considerations for South Australians when purchasing their next vehicle,” he said.

The association also said industry preparedness and investment must accompany rising sales of zero and low emission vehicles in South Australia. “The MTA is calling for a ‘Training, Technology and Tools’ fund to support businesses in the automotive retail, service and repair industry transition,” said Jacobs.

Noting that the cost to businesses is considerable, Jacobs added: “Whether for charging infrastructure, technician upskilling or just a new set of insulated tools, we can’t forget the important role businesses will play in this transition.”

The MTA SA / NT also called for more support for automotive skills and training, specifically for its successful Mentoring and Schools Pathways programmes.

If successful, the proposal would see the MTA SA / NT double the Schools Pathways programme to reach more schools across South Australia to promote career opportunities in the automotive industry, with a particular focus on regional locations.

According to the association, national data shows that for every two young people starting a trade apprenticeship, one drops out, highlighting the need for more to be done.

“The MTA’s Automotive Mentor programme has achieved an unprecedented 97 per cent retention rate across all programme participants, and we are calling for continued government support to see automotive apprentices through to completion,” said Jacobs.

Amid forecasted skills shortages, the MTA has also argued for longer-term solutions surrounding skilled migration, such as government trade delegations with industry and more support for small and medium businesses to access overseas labour.