Batteries, electric cars powers Labor plan

·3-min read

Labor has pledged cheaper electric cars and community batteries to drive down power bills if Anthony Albanese becomes prime minister.

The climate and energy pitch was unveiled on the second day of the ALP's special platform conference, which dodged a major brawl over the divisive policy area.

While references to coal and gas were inserted into the platform, a clear statement declaring a climate emergency was also included.

On the policy front, an elected Labor government would spend $200 million on tax breaks to slash the cost of electric vehicles by thousands of dollars.

The same amount would be spent on installing 400 community batteries, enough to provide cheaper electricity to up to 100,000 homes around Australia.

"Good action on climate is about lowering emissions, but it's also about lowering energy prices, helping families and creating jobs," Mr Albanese told reporters on Wednesday.

Under the plan, electric cars provided through work for personal use would be exempt from fringe benefits tax which would save $9000 on a $50,000 model.

Some imported electric cars would be exempt from five per cent tariffs, a move expected to shave about $2000 off a $50,000 model.

At the 2019 election, Scott Morrison claimed Labor's target of 50 per cent of all new cars being electric by 2030 would end the weekend.

But on Wednesday the prime minister denied ridiculing electric vehicle technology.

"What I called into question was the Labor Party policy and their ability to implement it, and I think we're in a similar process today," the prime minister said.

Mr Albanese ruled out taking a target to the next poll, which is due between August and May.

The ALP also emerged from the conference with a pledge to pump $15 billion into an investment fund centred on manufacturing.

In his conference-closing speech, the Labor leader signalled the opposition was moving to the "home straight" on its policy rollout.

"We can do it, and we will do it - together, we will give Australia the government it needs and deserves, an Australian Labor Party government," he told the party faithful.

Repeating his "on your side" mantra, Mr Albanese said conference had generated the light for the road to the election.

"Scott Morrison has none of this. No light, no road ahead, and the only voice he truly hears is his own," he said.

The opposition copped a hiding in seats reliant on mining at the last election, with the carnage in Queensland playing a large part in denying Bill Shorten victory.

Former federal candidate and Labor's Queensland assistant secretary Zac Beers told delegates coalminers in the state had a hard time supporting the party in 2019.

"They didn't believe they would have jobs under a Labor government," he said.

"Coalmining will be the backbone of their economy and will be the backbone of their economy for years to come."

Conference also resolved a future Labor government would change workplace laws to crack down on sham contracting.

Recklessness would no longer be a defence, forcing the onus on to employers, corporations, partnerships and trusts that misrepresent employees as independent contractors.