Labor has announced a battery manufacturing policy, with the party planning to make Australia’s battery sector “as recognisable as Holden”.
Batteries are central to a shift to renewables. They give renewables like solar and wind the ability to store energy that can later on be used to power energy grids. They’re also essential in EVs. This has been an argument going for hydrogen recently, as hydrogen can be stored in bulk for later use, greenly if produced with renewable energy going into the process.
And now the Australian Labor Party wants to build batteries in Queensland.
As such, the party announced plans to create a battery manufacturing precinct in Queensland, powered by a $100 million equity injection from the federal government. Part of this plan includes 10,000 new apprenticeships, with 2,000 expected to be employed in Queensland. Labor estimates that 34,700 jobs will come from battery technology development in Australia, along with $7.4 billion in value.
Additionally, as a part of this policy, Labor wants to develop a national battery strategy to allow the government and businesses work together on getting this stuff done.
“The resources sector has been the backbone of the Australian economy for decades,” said Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.
“Developing Australia’s battery manufacturing capability is a step towards the potential for domestic electric vehicle manufacture. Labor will create a Future Made in Australia. Australia should be a renewable energy powerhouse, not just a raw materials supermarket.”
Labor’s approach to renewables this election has been lukewarm up until now and hasn’t been a topic the Opposition leader has brought up in detail at any of the three leaders debates.
In short, Labor plans to cut emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, and net zero by 2050. The Opposition’s plan to cut emissions by 2030 is actually lower than their plan from the 2019 election, when they promised a 45 per cent emissions cut. They’ve been proactive about a shift to renewables, sure, but don’t want to crack down on coal mining this election.
Mind you, the Labor Party has also been quite supportive of electric vehicles, arguing for the removal of the import tariff and fringe benefits tax on some electric cars. The party also wants to create a national electric vehicle charging network.
With local battery manufacture planned for Australia by the opposition, perhaps Australia will finally tap into its own lithium reserves (lithium is a primary metal that goes in batteries). Last year, and many years before it, Australia was the top lithium miner in the world, but most of it was exported. Australia provides 49 per cent of the world’s lithium. But it was only last year Australia opened its first lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility.
Anyway, this is just a policy plan at the moment and largely hinges on industry involvement. We’ll be keen to see how it unfolds if Labor goes into power.
If you want to get up to speed on the tech and climate-adjacent policies, take a look over here.