LEADERS: Ballina Shire Council have announced plans to introduce an electric vehicle to their fleet in coming months.
LEADERS: Ballina Shire Council have announced plans to introduce an electric vehicle to their fleet in coming months. Queensland Government

Electric car to boost Ballina council's climate credentials

BALLINA Shire Council is hoping to "lead the pack” in climate action following the decision to introduce an electric vehicle into the council fleet later this year.

Councillor Jeff Johnson moved the motion at the February meeting to introduce an electric vehicle (EV) for staff usage, and said he was thrilled to see the motion unanimously supported.

Cr Johnson said he first approached the council about integrating an EV into the fleet in 2015, but was unsuccessful until now.

He said EVs were now at a price point where some models were less expensive than equivalent petrol cars, when you take into account lifetime operating costs, which meant it was cost-effective for the council to take one on.

"What will happen is when Council retires one of the petrol vehicles, they will switch in an electric vehicle instead,” Cr Johnson said.

"It's brilliant, and has been shown that ongoing costs are lower cost than petrol vehicles, so really it's no extra cost for council and there are so many benefits.”

Cr Johnson said aside from installing some low cost charging stations, the EV will not cost any additional funds, and will have a positive impact on the uptake rate of EVs in the region while reducing fossil fuel usage.

"As a leader in the community, Council should be supporting the change process away from fossil fuels and this is an example of an initiative that can be made through existing budget expenditures,” he said.

He said the council can encourage staff members and the broader community to go electric through dedicated parking spaces and charging stations in prominent areas.

"We've already seen forward thinking local businesses like the Macadamia Castle on Hinterland Way install EV charging stations for their customers and it's certainly time Ballina Council provided this service at the Ballina Airport and other Council facilities,” he said.

"Council needs to act as a change leader in our community, and this sends an encouragement these are feasible options.”