Australia to ramp up one industry to reduce global reliance on China

Ellen RansleyNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Anthony Albanese has unveiled the country’s first national battery strategy, pledging $550m to reduce reliance on China to power mobile phones, electric cars and scooters.

The Prime Minister and Industry Minister Ed Husic will launch the strategy in Brisbane on Thursday, detailing it as a plan aimed at turning Australia from a “dig-and-ship” economy that sells off its critical minerals, into a global powerhouse for renewable energy storage.

Part of the next plank of the government’s “Future Made in Australia” agenda, $550m was earmarked in last week’s budget to diversify battery supply chains and bolster’s the country’s industry.

The government said it was “inexcusable” Australia produced half the global supply of lithium, but produced less than one per cent of the world’s processed battery components.

The government will spend $523.2m for the “battery breakthrough initiative” to promote the development of manufacturing capabilities through production incentives, and $20.3m for the “building future battery capabilities” to incentivise battery research.

Camera IconPrime Minister Anthony Albanese and Industry Minister Ed Husic will unveil the country’s first national battery strategy, pledging $550m. NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia

China is the leading exporter of battery supplies, accounting for around 75 per cent. When asked whether Australia could compete with its manufacturing output, Mr Husic said there were myriad reasons why now was the right time to ramp up.

“China is obviously the biggest producers, (and) a lot of countries are recognising that their dependency on that concentrated supply chain isn’t in (their) national interest longer-term,” Mr Husic told ABC Radio.

“If there are disruptions to that supply, either accidental or otherwise, we’re left vulnerable and these are in terms of the batteries themselves – they’re complex in nature.

“It’s also driven by software, so we need to have safe and secure batteries, energy storage systems, longer term.”

Camera IconMr Albanese said Australia ‘must be a player in this field’. NewsWire / Monique Harmer Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Albanese said given global demand for batteries was set to “quadruple by 2030, Australia must be a player in this field”.

“Batteries are a critical ingredient in Australia’s clean energy mix,” Mr Albanese said.

“Together with renewable energy, green hydrogen, and critical minerals, we will meet Australia’s emission reduction targets and create a strong clean energy manufacturing industry.”

The strategy’s release comes amid a broader political debate over the future of energy in Australia, with the Coalition forging ahead with its bid to open up to seven nuclear reactors despite a CSIRO report revealing the energy output would cost twice as much as renewables.

The GenCost report found renewable remained the cheapest form of energy, despite the cost of building new infrastructure to support them.

Originally published as Australia to ramp up one industry to reduce global reliance on China

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