Battery sector gets $532m boost in manufacturing push

The government has unveiled a $532m initiative to promote more battery manufacturing in Australia.

The government has unveiled a $532m initiative to promote more battery manufacturing in Australia. Photo: AAP

More than half-a-billion dollars will be spent as part of a national strategy to turn Australia into a battery making superpower.

The federal government unveiled its national battery strategy on Thursday, in an attempt to increase manufacturing in the industry as global demand is set to quadruple by the end of the decade.

The rollout of the strategy comes as potential sites for nuclear power stations have emerged as part of an opposition plan.

The battery strategy will be spearheaded by a $532 million initiative to promote more battery manufacturing in Australia.

Industry Minister Ed Husic said while Australia provided a lot of minerals for battery making, the manufacturing was often done overseas.

He said it was crucial for Australia to take charge of the whole process for batteries as demand is set to surge.

“We’re very good at mining and refining, a lot of the processing is done in China. We can do a lot more of this onshore,” the minister told ABC Radio.

“What we’re trying to (do) through the strategy is open people’s eyes to the fact that we have been a leader in technology supporting batteries and we should be able to do more.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the battery strategy was part of a broader manufacturing push as part of the future made in Australia initiative.

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

It comes as the federal opposition has come under pressure to provide detail over its plan to build nuclear power plants.

The locations of up to seven nuclear sites are set to be unveiled in weeks in areas where coal or gas-fired power stations were located.

The proposed sites have been earmarked to include sites in the NSW Hunter Valley, Latrobe Valey in Victoria, Collie in Western Australia and Port Augusta in South Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported.

Opposition energy spokesman Ted O’Brien said while he would not reveal the sites, nuclear would play a larger mix in the energy grid.

“As coal exits the system for our electricity grid, there’s an opportunity for us to replace it with like-for-like, 24/7, always on power, coming from zero-emissions nuclear energy plants,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB.

O’Brien also hit out at a report published by the CSIRO which found nuclear energy would be significantly more expensive than wind or solar and would cost at least $8.5 billion.

“The … report is a report for investors who want to make a buck, it’s not for consumers who want to save a buck,” he said.

“We’re interested in the Australian consumer, the Australian business, what’s actually going to get prices down.”


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