Climate Summit for Local Government

Sept 6-8, 2023 | Melbourne

MAYORS AND COUNCILLORS across Australia – from Sydney to the Swan Valley – are calling on the Federal Government to supercharge the country’s supply of affordable electric vehicles.

A  joint statement, released today, and signed by 120 council elected officials, urges the Federal Government to legislate fuel efficiency standards that:

  • Are mandatory and deliver at least equivalent settings to those in other major markets.
  • Give Australian drivers more choice and affordability than they have today.
  • Support 100% of new vehicles sold in Australia to become zero emissions as soon as possible.
  • Are reviewed and updated approximately every five years.


Andrea Metcalf, Mayor, City of Greater Bendigo (VIC) said: 

“The City of Greater Bendigo has a goal to transition more than 100 light fleet to electric vehicles by 2030, however we are held back by the limited options available in Australia at the right price point. 

“We also know that some people in our community are in a similar position. They also want to be driving electric vehicles that are good for the environment, have lower running costs and are affordable. 

“Fuel efficiency standards are critical to unlocking this supply in Australia and would be a game changer for the transition of our transport sector to clean fuels.”

Shane Rattenbury MLA, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, ACT Government:

“Vehicle manufacturers send their cleanest vehicles to countries that demand low and zero emissions vehicles through effective fuel efficiency standards. For too long Australia has been left with less efficient and more polluting vehicles, which limits the choices Australians have when purchasing a new car. 

“We need to set national fuel efficiency standards for vehicles to make sure we get the cleanest cars on our roads. Setting strong fuel efficiency standards is vital for meeting our emissions reduction targets and for making more affordable electric vehicles available to Australians.”

Fuel efficiency standards cover 80 per cent of the global car market. They open the door for affordable low and zero emissions vehicles. Australia is one of the only wealthy countries without them, alongside Russia, Indonesia and Türkiye. As a result, Australia has become a ‘dumping ground’ for polluting vehicles, with few affordable and available EV options currently on the market.

The Cities Power Partnership, a program offered by the Climate Council to support local governments on their journey to net-zero emissions, convened the statement.

Dr Jennifer Rayner, Head of Advocacy at the Climate Council said:

“World-class fuel efficiency standards would bring more low and zero emissions vehicles to Australian shores. 

“Local government officials are doing what they can to accelerate the shift to EVs, but their hands are tied by prohibitive costs, which is why we’re taking their calls for more affordable options to the federal level.

“Fleets make up 41% of new car sales each year. With the average government fleet vehicle entering the secondhand market after three to five years, councils can play a critical role in supplying affordable EVs to their communities.

“Among the Cities Power Partnership’s 180 members, three-quarters have at least one EV in their fleets, but many are keen to go entirely electric. Cheaper EVs will be the key to this. 

“For communities to reap the benefits of cleaner, cheaper-to-run vehicles, it is essential the Federal Government implements fuel efficiency standards to supercharge our EV supply.”

Transport is a significant source of emissions at all levels of government – and is the third highest source of emissions nationally behind only electricity and stationary energy.

If fuel efficiency standards had been introduced in 2016, Australia could have saved $5.9 billion in fuel costs and avoided 4,000 megalitres of imported fuel. This would also have avoided 9 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – similar to the emissions from domestic aviation in a normal year.



To arrange an interview or for more information contact Hannah Clayton at
[email protected] or 0434269048

Further quotes from Mayors and Councillors in response to the joint statement:

In addition to quotes in the body of the media release – Shane Rattenbury MLA, ACT Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction: “It’s great to see that the ACT is continuing to lead the nation in electric vehicle uptake. As we work to encourage this transition to electric, I have heard from the community that one of the main barriers they face in shifting to an electric vehicle is limited availability.”

Dr Heather Holmes-Ross, Mayor, City of Mitcham (SA) said: “At the City of Mitcham, we are implementing many climate change mitigation strategies, including transitioning our fleet to electric vehicles, however we are facing waiting periods of many months, which is hampering our efforts. The implementation of fuel efficiency standards is essential if we are to lead our community in EV uptake. We all need to act without delay.”

Gordon Bradbery AM, Lord Mayor, Wollongong City Council (NSW): “We want to be part of the growing clean transport movement and champion the uptake of electric vehicles. That’s why we’re calling on the Federal Government to implement fuel efficiency standards – it’s an absolute must for our community’s sustainable future.”

Paula Masselos, Mayor, Waverley Council (NSW): “Increasing vehicle fuel efficiency is key for Waverley given transport accounts for around 20% of community greenhouse gas emissions in our local government area.

“Waverley Council supports and is actively encouraging the uptake and use of electric vehicles to help meet our community greenhouse gas emission reduction target of Net Zero by 2035, while also reducing noise and air pollution.

“We want to make it easier for our community to rapidly make the switch to EVs whilst supporting all sustainable transport options such as bike-riding, walking and public transport.”

Andrew Zbik, Mayor, Lane Cove Council (NSW): “Our community is eager to transition to electric vehicles. However, we need State and Federal Governments to get the policy settings right to accelerate the affordability and uptake of electric vehicles.

“Traditionally, Local Councils do not provide petrol stations to our residents. However, many Local Councils are being asked and expected to assist with providing electric vehicle infrastructure such as charging stations in public spaces. Many Councils have seen they can support this emerging technology. However, a coherent and holistic strategy is needed to identify the best way for Australia to transition to an EV fleet. This requires a whole of Government approach.

“It is imperative that Australia joins the rest of the world by setting high standards for vehicle emissions and supporting the fast transition to an EV fleet.”

David Lucas, Mayor, City of Swan (WA): “The City of Swan is committed to protecting and preserving our natural environment for future generations.

“Last year, we set a target to reach net zero corporate emissions by 2050 to minimise our impact on the environment and to set an example for our growing community. One way we’re working toward net zero is by driving more electric vehicles.

Having strong fuel efficiency standards in place is a great step forward and will help us to achieve our goals for a greener commercial fleet.”

Tarun Dewan, Councillor, City of Cockburn (WA): “Fuel efficiency standards in Australia must be implemented so that we don’t fall behind the rest of the world. Electrifying our vehicles by 2030 is a crucial way forward to reducing harmful emissions and tackling climate change.”

Councillor Penny Pedersen, City of Ryde (NSW): “I drive an electric vehicle. Encouraging the whole community to drive EVs will deliver cleaner, healthier air, particularly in our cities. Electric cars are fun to drive, cheaper to power and better for the climate.”

Dr Tonia Gray, Councillor, Shoalhaven City Council (NSW): “I wholeheartedly support 100% of new vehicles sold in Australia to become zero emissions ASAP – sending a strong message that Australian communities, businesses and government agencies are ready for zero-emission vehicles.

“Local governments are attempting to switch to electric vehicles (EVs), but there is a shortfall of supply to Australia, and the strong federal policy to amplify the message.

“The Federal Government needs to support access to EVs by legislating stringent fuel efficiency standards. Collectively these measures will accelerate the transition for councils – and with fleet vehicles entering the used car market after three-five years, which enables communities to have access to the best technology at a fair price.”

Hayley Edwards, Deputy Mayor, City of Rockingham (WA): “Mayors and Councillors play a fundamental role in shifting the climate change narrative. Local governments and communities are at the heart of dealing with and responding to impacts of climate change, floods, bushfires and rising sea levels. Local governments need to be proactive in this space and are essential in promoting a whole community transition and appealing to the State and Federal Government for resources.”

Amanda Stone, Councillor, City of Yarra (VIC): “Our inner community is super keen to switch to electric vehicles but without choice and affordability, the bar is just too high. Fuel efficiency standards would lower that bar and help our community do the right thing.”

Despi O’Connor, Councillor, Mornington Peninsula Shire (VIC): Legislating fuel efficiency standards for Australia will ensure that low emission vehicles make their way to our shores. This will quickly reduce fuel consumption, increase efficiency, and decrease emissions as low emission vehicles become more accessible and affordable. Reducing fuel consumption also leads to cost savings for consumers and helps ease the ever increasing cost of living too. As more fleets are able to make the switch, then more EVs will make their way into the second hand market, making low emission cars affordable for everyone.”

Susan Gontaszewski, Deputy Mayor, City of Vincent (WA): “Reducing emissions in the transport sector is a key part of the City of Vincent’s Sustainable Environment Strategy. Vincent’s light fleet is now all EV or hybrid vehicles. We are also committed to supporting our community to adopt electric cars and other technologies that reduce vehicle emissions. Introducing strong national fuel efficiency standards is an important step to facilitate more low and zero emissions vehicles being available to our community.”

Jenny McKinnon, Deputy Mayor, Wagga Wagga City Council (NSW): “Cleaning up transport must be a priority for councils in reducing emissions, as we work to prevent harmful climate change. Local governments can play a unique role in increasing the supply of affordable electric vehicles for Australians by going all-electric, but we need support from the Federal Government in the form of fuel efficiency standards.”

Mark Reeves, Mayor, East Gippsland Shire Council (VIC): “Transport is one of Australia’s fastest growing sources of emissions, second to our energy sector, and represents a big piece of our emissions profile.”

“With minimal public transport available in East Gippsland, our residents have limited availability to impact their transport costs. As a rural and remote shire, many residents travel long distances for employment, shopping and accessing services.

“The absence of fuel efficiency standards means car manufacturers from across the world are able to sell less efficient vehicles in Australia – which is a cost not only to each car owner, but to the environment which we value so highly here in East Gippsland.”

Shauna Jarrett, Councillor, City of Sydney (NSW): “Councils have a key role in fostering the growth of sustainable and affordable transport options for their communities. As the leading Council in Australia, the City of Sydney should be ensuring the implementation of world-class fuel efficiency standards. This will provide the environment for further investment into cheaper low and zero emissions vehicles to our shores as called for in this Statement.

“Robust fuel efficiency standards will attract a larger supply of electric vehicles to the Australian market and will help reduce the affordability barriers that local households currently face by going electric. The City of Sydney should be taking a leading role in facilitating this process.”

Ben Ramcharan, Mayor, Nillumbik Shire Council (VIC): “Nillumbik Shire Council’s Climate Action Plan includes a target of net zero emissions for Council operations by 2030 and the Nillumbik community by 2035.

“Data indicates that 22 per cent of community emissions in Nillumbik are transport related. We are very supportive of initiatives that help with the uptake of low and zero-emissions vehicles in our community which will assist us to reach our targets.”