Will Labor force new homeowners to spend thousands of dollars installing electric car charging stations if they build or renovate?

By James Lane and Louise Evans

The Statement

“A Bill Shorten government wants to force you to install an electric vehicle charging station whenever you build or renovate your home, whether you drive an electric car or not. This will cost homeowners thousands. Homeowners can’t afford Labor.”

NSW Liberal candidate for Gilmore, Warren Mundine. May 14, 2019.

The Analysis

NSW Liberal candidate for Gilmore Warren Mundine claims a Labor government will force home owners and renovators to outlay thousands of dollars installing electric vehicle charging stations, whether or not the owner has an electric car. Mr Mundine’s claim follows similar suggestions from Energy Minister Angus Taylor who described Labor’s electric car transport policy as creating a "housing tax". [1]

AAP FactCheck examined Mr Mundine’s claim Labor policy will force homeowners to spend thousands of dollars installing electric vehicle charging stations if they build or renovate.

Warren Mundine grew up in country NSW and lived over half his life in regional Australia. His mother’s family are Yuin people from the South Coast. He said his ancestors have lived on the South Coast for thousands of years. He is the cousin of boxer Tony Mundine and second cousin of Anthony Mundine, the boxer and Rugby League player. [2]

He was previously a long-serving member of the Labor Party. He was elected to Labor's Presidential Panel in 2003 and was Labor’s national president from 2006-2007, becoming the first indigenous Australian to serve as president of an Australian political party. He left Labor in 2012 after missing out on becoming Labor's first federal indigenous parliamentarian when Mark Arbib resigned from the Senate in March 2012. Former NSW Premier Bob Carr was selected for the position instead. He said Prime Minister Scott Morrison persuaded him to join the Liberal Party in January 2019 and believes the Liberals better understand “the concerns and aspirations of working people and regional Australia". [3] [4]

Gilmore on NSW’s south coast is held by the Liberals with a margin of just 0.7 per cent. It is the coalition's most marginal federal seat in NSW. It takes in Kiama, Shoalhaven, Nowra-Bomaderry, Ulladulla, Batemans Bay and Jervis Bay. [5]

Coalition loyalists were upset when Mr Mundine was parachuted into Gilmore. The former locally-endorsed Liberal candidate Grant Schultz quit the party and is running as an independent against Mr Mundine. The Nationals are also running a candidate against Mr Mundine, former NSW MP Katrina Hodgkinson. Ms Hodgkinson has been endorsed by the Liberals' former member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis, who quit the seat in September 2018, telling parliament she had been undermined. [6]

Former prime minister John Howard went to Gilmore on April 24, 2019 to formally endorse Mr Mundine. [7]

In a 2007 opinion piece in the Herald Sun, Mr Mundine wrote: "I hate Mr Howard and want to see him voted out at the next federal election." [8]

Labor's transport policy includes a strategy for a national electric vehicle target of 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030. As part of that policy it states an ALP government would "work with states to ensure new and refurbished commercial and residential developments include electric vehicle charging capacity". [9]

In a radio interview on May 2, Mr Taylor criticised Labor’s policy saying it was costly and would affect home renovators: “We know that costs a lot of money. Does that mean you’ve got to have three-phase power which will cost you $3000 or $4000 to put in and then you’ve got to put the charger in on top of that which will be a few thousand (dollars) on top of that, just if you do a renovation,” Mr Taylor said. [10]

Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari immediately rejected Mr Taylor’s claim, telling Sky News TV the government’s figures didn't reflect industry modelling. He said the cost for wiring in new homes would be “one or two hundred dollars”.

“The cost of enabling that (a purpose-built charger) or future-proofing buildings is marginal. It’s a tiny extra cost. The minister (Angus Taylor) came out today and said that they (the coalition) have some form of modelling that shows it will cost billions to do that. I’m not sure what that modelling is," Mr Jafari said. [11]

The following day Mr Jafari described Mr Taylor's claim that "Labor’s EV policy would precipitate a ‘housing tax’ as “truly ludicrous". Under the headline "Angus Taylor’s ’housing tax’ accusation on EVs a laughable lie”, Mr Jafari said both Liberal and Labor "agree that within the next two decades there’s going to be a massive scale-up of electric vehicles". "Making sure new buildings are future-proofed and able to charge vehicles efficiently is common sense given that everyone - including the Liberal Party - acknowledges that a mass transition to EVs is coming," he said. "The costs are minimal at build. [12]

"By contrast doing nothing would be the costly option, because it would ensure that people would be forced to pay more later to upgrade retrospectively." [12]

On May 14 2019, Mr Mundine posted on his authorised Facebook page and Twitter account his claim that a “Bill Shorten government wants to force you to install an electric vehicle charging station whenever you build or renovate your home, whether you drive an electric car or not. This will cost homeowners thousands. Homeowners can’t afford Labor.” [13]

Based on this evidence AAP FactCheck found Mr Mundine’s claim Labor’s policy would "cost homeowners thousands" to be false. The cost of future-proofing these developments would be "tiny" and “minimal”, amounting to “one or two hundred dollars”.

The Verdict

  • False - The checkable claims are all false.

The References

1: ‘Electric cars: Fake news being spread by Mundine in Gilmore, Taylor in Hume’, by Ben Langford. Illawarra Mercury. May 15, 2019: https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/6125575/fake-news-hits-south-coast-lowers-debate/

2. ‘Meet Warren’. Liberal Party of Australia: https://nsw.liberal.org.au/candidate/Warren-Mundine/Meet-Warren

3. ‘Gilmore Votes: Warren Mundine, Liberal Party’, by Grace Ryan. South Coast Register: May 7, 2019: https://www.southcoastregister.com.au/story/6111243/meet-the-candidate-warren-mundine-liberal/

4. ‘The Life And Times Of Warren Mundine, According To Two Wild Black Women’. New Matilda. May 15, 2019: https://newmatilda.com/2019/05/15/the-life-and-times-of-warren-mundine-according-to-two-wild-black-women/

5. ‘Gilmore (Key Seat) NSW South Coast. ABC: https://www.abc.net.au/news/elections/federal/2019/guide/gilm/

6. ‘Federal election 2019: How the fight for Gilmore became one of the most confusing in the country’, by Geoff Thompson. ABC. May 7, 2019: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-07/federal-election-2019-how-fight-for-gilmore-became-so-confusing/11064064

7. ‘John Howard travels to knife-edge NSW seat of Gilmore to endorse Warren Mundine’, by Kelly Fuller. ABC. April 24. 2019: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-24/howard-backs-mundine-in-messy-gilmore-campaign/11043792

8. ‘Mundine juvenile to hate me, says Howard’. Sydney Morning Herald. June 29, 2007: https://www.smh.com.au/national/mundine-juvenile-to-hate-me-says-howard-20070629-gdqi7n.html

9. ‘A Strategy for a Cleaner Transport Future.’ Bill’s Media Releases, Labor. April 1, 2019: https://www.billshorten.com.au/a_strategy_for_a_cleaner_transport_future_monday_1_april_2019

10. ‘Angus Taylor MP’. 2GB. https://soundcloud.com/angus-taylor-mp/

11. ‘Govt’s electric car claim ‘doesn’t reflect’ reality’. The Weekly Times/Sky News. May 2, 2019: https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/govts-electric-car-claim-doesnt-reflect-reality/video/55802663f352d027bd247bbc8b5f9224

12. ‘Angus Taylor’s ’housing tax’ accusation on EVs a laughable lie’. Electric Vehicle Council. May 3, 2019: https://electricvehiclecouncil.com.au/angus-taylors-housing-tax-accusation-on-evs-a-laughable-lie/

13. Warren Mundine for Gilmore official Facebook and Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/224231651270025/posts/863063914053459/


  • First published May 16, 2019 17:55 AEST