Australia to make electric buses go round

More electric buses could be manufactured in Australia after the Queensland government announced talks with local firms to "build more buses right here".

The government's "market-sounding" announcement came less than a week after the state revealed plans to launch another 17 electric buses, which would put more than 50 of the next-generation vehicles on roads by the end of the year.

The move also follows commitments to manufacture electric buses in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia.

Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the government was "approaching bus manufacturers across the state" to gather feedback on how it could work with them to produce more zero-emission vehicles.

"What we want is as many electric buses out there, made in Queensland, as quickly as possible," Mr Bailey said.

"Different bus operators and different bus manufacturers have their own ways of working but we are open-minded about working with how they go about things.

"There's going to be a great need for electric buses and we want as many of them built here as possible."

Queensland is one of four states and territories to commit to electric bus targets, with all new buses purchased for south-east Queensland to be electric by 2025 and throughout the state by 2030.

Queensland companies already producing electric buses include Volgren in Brisbane and BusTech on the Gold Coast.

Mr Bailey said the electric transition would significantly cut carbon emissions as "buses are out on the road a lot - 13 to 14 hours a day".

"We want to see big gains before 2025 but from 2025 you will not be able to bring a new urban bus into (south-east Queensland) that is not zero-emission," he said.

"They're all ramping up at their own pace - each operator is a little different - but we'll see a big increase this year."

All buses purchased in Victoria will also need to be electric by 2025, while the ACT has committed to electrifying its entire fleet by 2040.

NSW will transition its Sydney bus fleet to electric models by 2035 and buses statewide by 2047.

Federal Transport Minister Catherine King, who visited Brisbane's Cross River Rail Roma Street site for the announcement, said the move to electric transport represented a big opportunity for local manufacturers.

"We do want to see more electric buses, more trains, we want to see more signalling, more componentry for public transport made here in this country," she said.

"Transport is a significant contributor to emissions and if, as a country, we are to reach our net-zero target then transport has to play a role."

Ms King said the federal government did not "fund bus networks" but was open to "talks" with state governments and had invested $125 million in electric bus charging infrastructure in Western Australia in the 2023 budget.