Transportation Minister Paul Fletcher says he’s committed to investing $1 billion to help get people from Point Cook to their homes by the end of the year, and that’s the big news.
“It’s the kind of investment that I think is the only way to make a real difference,” he said.
Fletcher’s comments come after a report last year by a group of experts at the International Energy Agency that said VESTS could deliver 100 percent of the nation’s electricity needs within five years.
The government is investing $200 million in VESSTs over the next four years, and Fletcher says the money will be used to build a network of more than 1,000 charging stations.
He also says the government is looking at a proposal for electric buses to provide high-speed rail connections between major cities, and to create a national network of electric vehicle-charging stations.
The minister says the federal government will invest $500 million over the same time period to help support the development of VESTDs.
Fletcher says the infrastructure is already in place and there are a number of projects under way, including a new highway between the southern and northern halves of Sydney, and the installation of solar-powered chargers in the state capital of Melbourne.
Filling in the gaps VESTS will cost $1.1 billion and create 10,000 new jobs, but Fletcher says a lot more will be needed to ensure the program has the support it needs to take off.
“The more that we do it, the more we have to build it, because we’re going to have to keep investing, we’re not going to be able to keep the investments coming in,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
The government says the first phase of VESA will be up and running by early next year.
“We’re looking at some of these projects which will be quite large, like the Victorian Government’s new power network, which is going to include about 10,600 charging stations across Victoria,” Fletcher said.
As part of its initial $500-million investment, the Victorian government is also considering building a new charging station at Melbourne Airport, which would see the use of an electric bus service to ferry people to their destinations.
But Fletcher says there are still some major challenges to getting people from Melbourne to their new homes.
“It will be a challenging time, as you can imagine,” he explained.
“We will have to get some more infrastructure built, and we’ll have to put in some more stations to help make it possible.”
He says the number of charging stations needed for a VESA would have to be kept “well below” the 100,000 currently needed.
And while he expects more infrastructure to be put in place, he says it will still be some time before people can take advantage of Vespers.
“People will have a number to do, because it’s a new infrastructure that’s coming, it’s not something you can do overnight,” he noted.
VESST rollout is expected to begin in 2020.