Evaluating pandemic policies

The varying aspects of Australia’s pandemic response provide an opportunity to examine policy settings.

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Outdated policies question town council’s competence


The Alice Springs Town Council seems to cop lots of grief, but is it justified?

Are the people in charge of the Town Council fit to run it? The state of its policies certainly raises questions.

There is no standard template for policies. All policies should have a review date. They mostly don’t. Similarly, all policies should at least be dated and often any revisions are listed.

Some are quite amusing, in that they are very ambiguous, though possibly intentionally, with some “cut and paste” from other council policies that were not intended to be the same. Some examples:-

The Access Policy hasn’t been reviewed since 2002.

Of particular interest is the Alfresco Dining Policy (Policy # 301) which hasn’t been updated since 2007. Given all the COVID-19 necessities one would think this would have been updated.

The Pandemic Financial Hardship Council Policy was supposed to be reviewed in July 2020, but hasn’t.

The policy around Rates and Charges (# 510) hasn’t been updated since 2008.

I find the Borrowing Policy (# 516) interesting, but I cannot find the associated document they mention, namely “Borrowings Procedural Statement and Directives”.

The Community Development Grants Scheme Policy (# 303) hasn’t been updated since 2007.

The Corporate Sponsorship (Outgoing) Policy (COR 004) was supposed to have been updated in 2010 but hasn’t: “This is about Outcome. A more diversified economic base, Strategy, Support appropriate economic development projects, A vibrant tourism industry. Actively promote and support local events” and so on.

All of these items are fundamental development and growth issues of the town itself and the people in the town.

Procurement Policy (# 219) was supposed to be updated in June 2018 but hasn’t.

Furthermore, there are many more policies that have not been updated since 2007, for example the Childcare Centres Policy.

The Community Consultation Framework has not been updated since 2005, which may explain why Community Consultation hasn’t been working.

The Town Council’s website has outdated information, yet radio advertisements advise to obtain the latest information from their site.

For example, the Mayoral Awards is still referring to November 2020. The Youth Action Group refers to the Skate Park Festival registration date for 9 October 2020. We all agree the youths need something to occupy them. The Phoney Film Festival mentions the film being screened on the 16 July 2020.

In comparison, have a look at the City of Stirling Council website.

It sure doesn’t make sense and so my conclusion is that bring it upon themselves.

If they want to regain the respect of the ratepayers, then perhaps show us that you can act in a fit and professional manner.

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China’s policies on Muslims amount to ‘genocide’, claims Mike Pompeo

Many of those accused of having taken part in the repression are already under US sanctions. The “genocide” designation means new measures will be easier to impose.

“After careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that since at least March 2017, the People’s Republic of China, under the direction and control of the Chinese Communist Party, has committed crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” Pompeo said in a statement.

A detention facility in the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux, Xinjiang.Credit:AP

“In addition, after careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that the PRC, under the direction and control of the CCP, has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang. I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state.”

Tuesday’s move is the latest in a series of steps the outgoing Trump administration has taken against China.

Since last year, the administration has steadily ramped up pressure on Beijing, imposing sanctions on numerous officials and companies for their activities in Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.


Those penalties have gotten harsher since the beginning of last year when President Donald Trump and Pompeo began to accuse China of trying to cover up the coronavirus pandemic. Just on Saturday, Pompeo lifted restrictions on US diplomatic contacts with Taiwanese officials, prompting a stern rebuke from China, which regards the island as a renegade province.

China has imprisoned more than 1 million people, including Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups, in a vast network of concentration camps, according to US officials and human rights groups. People have been subjected to torture, sterilisation and political indoctrination in addition to forced labor as part of an assimilation campaign in a region whose inhabitants are ethnically and culturally distinct from the Han Chinese majority.

Five days ago, the administration announced it would halt imports of cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang with Customs and Border Protection officials saying they would block products from there suspected of being produced with forced labour.

Xinjiang is a major global supplier of cotton, so the order could have significant effects on international commerce. The Trump administration has already blocked imports from individual companies linked to forced labour in the region, and the US has imposed sanctions on Communist Party officials with prominent roles in the campaign.


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Migrant caravan: Mexico presses US to reform immigration policies

Migrant caravan: Mexico presses US to reform immigration policies

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“Banner Drinker Register” To Be Mandated In The Barkly Region

The remote part of Northern Territory, Barkly region, is now under proposed changes to its alcohol policies, which requires people to provide ID in order to buy a drink.

This recommendation is just one among many others made by the Northern Territory Liquor Commission which follows a two-year review opting to reduce any alcohol-related risks in the area.

Under the proposed amendment, should one’s ID show that they are on the Banned Drinker Register (BDR), patrons would be barred from buying drinks from three licensed premises — the Goldfields Hotel, the Tennant Creek Hotel and the Elliott Hotel. Yet, thus far, the BDR only applies to takeaway alcohol sales.

Jason Groves of the Goldfields Hotel described this tentative measure to be “a bit of a farce”.

He said “They’ll need to put ID scanners in all the bars, so that’ll be a major expense … it’s also going to increase staff on the doors. It’ll just be another cumbersome thing for people to do to enjoy a legal product.”

This mandatory ID check and other measures suggested in the review will be considered by the NT Government.

Further recommendations saw The Liquor Commission’s changing the takeaway license conditions of three Tennant Creek outlets — the Goldfields Hotel, the Tennant Creek Hotel and the Headframe Bottle Shop.

Should the change be approved, this means that in a household, no more than three people would be allowed to purchase takeaway alcohol in the same day. The commission said police stationed outside outlets could enforce that measure using “iPads linked to police databases”.

The region’s major population hub, Tennant Creek, has long suffered from social issues related to high rates of alcohol consumption, and its 3,000 residents already face some of the strictest alcohol restrictions in the country.

On the other hand, takeaway bottle shops have currently reduced opening hours and limit the purchase are imposed to one 750ml bottle of spirits, two 750ml bottles of wine or 24 cans of full-strength beer per day.

(Image source: ABC News)

Energy industry warns disjointed climate and energy policies risk network failure

Mr Richards said the imposition of different standards and requirements across jurisdictions created unnecessary complexity for power generators and retailers, which would “lead to higher costs” for electricity customers.


“It’s been quite disappointing that Victoria and NSW have been fully aware of and endorsed the ESB’s work program, but they’ve gone their own way anyway,” Mr Richards said.

“You could argue they’ve turned their back on the national reform that they have endorsed by implementing their own state-based plans.”

However, Mr Richards said a national target for emissions reduction would help co-ordinate state policies and create consistency across jurisdictions.

“While the federal government doesn’t have control of state energy policy, what is missing is a national response to climate change to help manage low-emissions investments.”

Ms Schott said on Tuesday the rapid rise in renewables meant “coal plants will retire faster than anybody thinks” and called for a range of technical reforms to balance the grid such as energy storage, frequency control and reliability standards.

“It’s now time for tough, united decisions. If we keep kicking this further down the road, it’s going to cost us all more for electricity in the future,” she said.

Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood welcomed the ESB call for unity, which he said was needed to deliver low-emissions and reliable energy at the lowest prices.

“We need clear, national policy that sets the levels of emissions and reliability we need in the market,” Mr Wood said. “Uncoordinated state policies and government interventions will definitely mean higher electricity prices.

“Governments tend to overbuild and gold plate the network. That’s because they’re focused more on keeping the lights on than efficiency,” Mr Wood said. “The best way to balance price and reliability is for government to set the parameters and let the market deliver.”

Australian Energy Council chief executive Sarah McNamara.Credit:Christopher Pearce

Australian Energy Council chief executive Sarah McNamara, representing the nation’s largest energy companies, welcomed the ESB’s market design report and urged the states to work together to implement it.

“A national and coordinated approach to energy policy is the framework most likely to deliver the best results for customers – namely reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity supply,” Ms McNamara said.

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor has said it was “critical” for governments to work together to implement the ESB reforms.

He said on Tuesday that energy sector emissions were falling rapidly and the federal government was on track to meet its international climate commitments, including the 26 to 28 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, required by the Paris Agreement.


“The Morrison government has a very clear and successful emissions reduction policy that has allowed us to meet and beat our 2020 target and will ensure we meet and beat our 2030 target,” Mr Taylor said.

Labor energy and climate change spokesman Mark Butler said “state governments have stepped into the vacuum of national energy policy [under the Coalition]”.

“The national government needs to put in place a national energy policy that will pull through the investment we need to see not just in renewable energy generation but in firming technology like batteries, pumped hydro, peaking gas generation and the like,” Mr Butler said.

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Scott Morrison’s Pentecostal beliefs have affected Liberal Party policies

The impact of Scott Morrison’s Pentacostal beliefs concern many Australians, as shown by this January article, which was read by near 45,000 people.


Scott Morrison’s blind devotion to his religious beliefs has had an influence on various Liberal policies, including climate change denialism, writes John Wren.

LAST WEEK (11 January 2020), I wrote about how the Liberal Party’s core climate change denialism has impacted policy that has, in turn, exacerbated, possibly even created this year’s bushfire crisis. This week I explore this further looking at how Scott Morrison’s Pentecostal belief system has influenced his denialism and the effect that those beliefs have on other Liberal Party policies. Morrison is not the only Pentecostal in the Liberal Party — other co-religionists include Stuart Robert, the Minister for the NDIS, Steve Irons, Andrew Hastie and Ian Goodenough.

The infiltration of the Liberal Party by religious fundamentalists is not new. Prior to the last State Election, the Victorian branch was actively recruiting members from evangelical sects and the Mormons. It ultimately led to the wholesale rejection of the party at the ballot box. The Labor landslide was so big, it will likely keep them out of power in Victoria for at least another decade.

It had a similar effect in Western Australia. But only at the Federal level have they attained government and the means to overtly and covertly implement their religious ideology as political policy.

Let’s look at a few core Pentecostal beliefs and their impact on Liberal Party policy.

Prosperity theology: This is the belief (at complete odds to the teachings of Jesus Christ) that personal wealth is the end result of Godliness. If one works hard and leads a God-fearing moral life, then prosperity will follow. The corollary of this is that wealthy people are the most saintly and less well-off people are being punished by God for their alleged indolence and immorality. Hillsong and its attendant franchises are strong proponents of this abomination of Christian values. Morrison’s own Church, Horizon (formerly Shire Live), is affiliated with Hillsong.

How does prosperity theology impact Liberal Party policy? Because adherents believe that the less well-off are only that way because they are lazy and lead immoral lives, then the provision of welfare is seen as an anathema. Why give them money if all they need do is pray and work harder? This means that increasing Newstart, for example, will never happen under a Liberal government.

Prosperity theology also means that wealthy people are feted and celebrated. It means tithing is rife within Pentecostal churches. Tithing is the giving back to the church a proportion of one’s income (usually 10 per cent) so that it can be spent supposedly on “good works”. The wealthier one is, the more one gives and the more they are celebrated. Please note the term “good works”. As mentioned above, they do not focus much on charity. Good works usually means money for expansion of the church, recruitment of new members, missions and so on. Not to mention the lavish lifestyle church pastors themselves live. Of course, the church’s tax-free status assists with this.

A judgemental God: Like wealth discussed above, many Pentecostals believes that health and wellbeing is the end result of leading a Godly life. Again, this implies that those who are disabled, physically or mentally ill are not leading moral lives and are thus being punished or tested by God. Many believe in faith healing, the laying on of hands to cure a variety of maladies. In terms of political philosophy, this means that the Government should not be funding medical care or the NDIS, as the provision of medical care could be seen as interfering in “God’s will”.

Morrison appointed fellow Pentecostal Stuart Robert – also a former Canberra housemate of his – Minister for the NDIS. This appointment is an insult to every disabled person and their carers in Australia. It explains why the NDIS is seen as a pool of funds to be allocated at will to other causes — money was stripped from the NDIS to fund drought recovery. In effect, the Government is using the sick, disabled and their carers to pay for subsidies to drought-affected communities. They would rather do this than wind back franking credit refunds for the wealthy. Remember the wealthy — they are rich because they lead sainted lives.

The NDIS has also been deliberately underspent this year to help effect the faux surplus promised in the 2019 election. We learned this week that over 1,200 people died while waiting for assistance from the NDIS. Robert flat-out denied the readily available statistic. We can only conclude that lying is also a core tenet of Pentecostalism.

Pentecostalism and climate change: Many Pentecostals believe that the only entity capable of affecting climate change is God. Therefore, anthropogenic (man-made) climate change doesn’t exist. Putting measures in place to address climate change would, therefore, be a waste of time and money and interfering with God’s will. Further, many adherents believe that resources were put on Earth by God for humans to use — such as timber from trees, coal and oil. If one holds this belief, then not utilising those God-given resources would be an insult to God. Clearly, this is one of the core influences in Scott Morrison’s climate change denialism and his profound unwillingness to give up fossil fuels.

To give an indication of how pervasive this is, the Pastor of Hobart’s C3 Church – another Hillsong affiliate – Lucas Jocometti, was actively campaigning to turn Tasmania’s pristine inland wilderness are into an oilfield. It is evident that Pentecostal churches are content to leave global ecological issues up to God. They believe that God loves humans and, ultimately, humans can do what they like with natural resources because God will take care of the global climate. An excellent article on this can be found here.

As can be seen from the above examples, with Morrison at its head, the current Liberal Party Government will not act on climate change but will continue to run down Medicare and the NDIS, the less fortunate and battlers will continue to be punished for their supposed indolence and lack of faith. We have seen hundreds of charities rise to the occasion over the last few weeks to help those affected by bushfires. Few, if any, have come from Pentecostal sources.

The head of Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, has said the church will be praying for rain. He says Hillsong ‘will work through our Network churches in the affected regions to identify some of the families that may need longer-term recovery support as they seek to rebuild their lives’. In other words, their charity only extends to their own members. Nice, huh?

You can sign the petition to have John Wren reinstated on Twitter here.

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Can Instagram use your cell phone camera to monitor your reactions? This is what the app’s policies say

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This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

This weekend a rumor broke out about Instagram that put users on alert. Supposedly, the application linked to Facebook updated its privacy policies and terms of use. The new terms would allow the app to use your phone’s camera at any time to monitor your reactions.

Rumor has it that new Instagram policies give you unlimited access to all the information on your devices. If that already sounds worrisome, what really alarmed Internet users is that the application would also have access to the front camera of the equipment to record your facial expressions when viewing a publication.

In addition, the supposed changes would include recording “the way you interact with a post, the time you look at it, how you touch the screen, the speed with which you like” and “make use of your camera even when you are not using it” , is read in one of the hundreds of posts that circulate on social networks.

According to the disseminators of the rumor, this would have commercial purposes: to collect information to select the advertising that is shown to the user.

Since app users seldom read the terms and conditions carefully before hitting ‘accept’, it was very easy for thousands of people to believe the alarming report.

Even the Queen of Pop, Madonna, disagreed in an Instagram post:

“Instagram’s new cyber surveillance policies allow Mark Zuckerberg to spy on you and your family, steal your most intimate secrets and monitor your compliance with government mandates across all your devices, including your television, and sell your data to the government. and the industry or punish him for disobedience, “ wrote Madonna. ” This is a terrifying shit , “added the diva.

Of course, the 62-year-old star was not the only one to issue warnings against the platform. Thousands of Internet users echoed the rumor, stated that they would uninstall the app and shared tips to avoid being a victim of espionage or theft of private information by Instagram.

What do the privacy policies of Instagram actually say?

You just have to carefully read the terms of the application to realize it was all fake news! In the conditions of use and the data policy , which can be consulted in the app itself and on its website, the use of cell phone cameras to monitor reactions or expressions is not established.

“As this policy also includes Facebook, information on facial recognition is included, although we do not use this technology on Instagram. If we start using it, we will notify you and we will give you the option to choose if you want to accept its use ” , you can read on the web.

In the legal information section of Instagram, we can find what the app monitors for advertising purposes. In general, Instagram collects the information and content that the user provides, such as your network of contacts, the hashtags you use, your location and affiliation with products. So select the advertising content that it shows according to your interests.

Regarding facial recognition, mention that this function is activated or not depending on the user selects.

“If this feature is enabled, we will use facial recognition technology to recognize you in photos, videos, and camera experiences. The facial recognition templates that we create may constitute data with special protections under the legislation of your country ” , reads its data policy.

“You can get more information about the way we use this technology or control how we use it in Facebook settings,” they add.

The platform also clarifies that “in case we introduce facial recognition technology in your Instagram experience, we will inform you in advance and you can decide if you want us to use it for you .”

For its part, the Instagram Public Relations team clarified the update of its use policies on its official Twitter account.

“We made some changes to our Terms to make them easier to understand; for example, we provide clearer language about how we use data to personalize ads. You can find them here and they apply to all of them on Instagram, ”they added, sharing a link to an explainer on Facebook.

Of course, the memes about the false rumor were not lacking and here are some:

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Celebrity Chef’s Facebook Page Removed After Calling COVID-19 “A Hoax”

Pete Evans, a Celebrity Chef, has had his Facebook page permanently removed by the company after repeatedly breaking the social media network’s misinformation policies with his posts regarding COVID-19.

A Facebook company spokesperson took to media that their platform does not allow anyone to share misinformation about COVID-19 that might lead to the imminent harm, may it be physical or mental. More so, misinformation about vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts is strictly prohibited as well.

In the state, the spokesperson emphasized: “We have clear policies against this type of content and we’ve removed Chef Pete Evans’ Facebook page for repeated violations of these policies.”

Facebook has previously removed individual posts by Evans for violating its Misinformation and Harm Policy. That being said, Mr Evans’ Instagram account, which is owned by Facebook, is still active.

It was noted that Mr Evans regularly uses his account to spark doubt on official disclosed information about COVID-19, vaccines, and other areas of mainstream science. Given that posts sharing misinformation but do not violate the letter of Facebook’s policies doesn’t suffer much removal; it reflects the severity of Mr Evan’s breach.

Mr Evans was a judge on My Kitchen Rules between 2010 and 2020 and had over a million Facebook followers.  He has repeatedly made posts opposing COVID-19 vaccines and masks, and claimed in a podcast that the coronavirus is a hoax.

Not only that, Evans’ company was fined more than $25,000 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) last April after he indorsed a device called a ‘BioCharger’ on a Facebook’s live streaming session, with claims that it could be used in relation to the coronavirus. Yet, the TGA said the claim had “no apparent foundation”.

Last November, Mr Evans’ publisher also ended its contract with him after he used a neo-Nazi symbol in a Facebook post. “Pan Macmillan does not support the recent posts made by Pete Evans. Those views are not our views as a company or the views of our staff,” the company said at the time.

Retailers, soon after, declared they would not sell Evans’ products after the post. Big W, Coles, Dymocks, Kmart and Booktopia were among those retailers. However, he later denied he used the symbol intentionally.

What Australia can learn from electric vehicle policies in Indonesia

The Indonesian Government is making an effort to encourage drivers to go electric in an effort to reduce traffic and air pollution, writes John Thompson.

JAKARTA IS the world’s tenth most congested city. It’s so congested you might not even notice when half the cars are missing. Today it’s the odds; car license plates – all ending in ones, threes, sixes and nines – are shuttered inside garages or parked on streets. Tomorrow, the same will be true of the even-numbered plates.

That is, unless you’re driving an electric vehicle.

The odd/even policy as it’s known is intended to reduce both central Jakarta’s traffic and air pollution. On select main roads and highways, cars with odd-numbered plates can only drive on odd dates — for even dates the opposite is true.  

Marius Pratiknjo, a member of the otherwise sacrosanct classic car community, converted his prized purple vintage Citroen Mehari to an electric motor this year. Pratiknjo says that, in addition to being exempt from the odd/even policy, he’ll soon be paying less for registration, less for permits and even less for fuel. “More incentive for the electric car,” he explains. “We just feel special.”

Marius Pratiknjo’s purple Mehari (Image supplied)

The Indonesian Government hopes that with incentives such as these, 20% of the vehicles manufactured in Indonesia will be either hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully electric by the year 2025.

So, what can Australia, now the only country in the world to actively tax electric vehicles, learn from our closest international neighbour?

Following in the footsteps of South Australia, the Victorian Government’s new electric vehicle tax, announced by Treasurer Tim Pallas prior to the state Budget announcement, consists of a 2.5 cent per kilometre charge on electric and zero-emission vehicles — including hydrogen. Hybrid vehicles will also incur a slightly smaller two cent per kilometre charge.

The plan is expected to generate approximately $30 million a year. The revenue, which will not be reinvested into the electric vehicle industry, will instead supposedly contribute to road repair and maintenance.

The Victorian Government claims that since electric vehicles run independent of petroleum, they do not contribute to fuel excises — primarily a tool used for revenue-raising.

Treasurer Pallas stated:

“If you’re not filling your vehicle up with petrol, then ultimately you’re not paying your share of maintenance costs of dealing with our road system.”

Yet the higher cost associated with purchasing electric vehicles does result in higher registration fees and motor vehicle duties, a fact acknowledged by Dr Jake Whitehead, Research Fellow at the University of Queensland and expert in e-mobility and the electric vehicle (EV) industry.

Electric vehicles threaten oil but are a boon for health

Dr Whitehead explains:

“EV owners already contribute more tax than comparable petrol or diesel vehicles, so it is incorrect to claim they are not contributing taxes. The tax contribution is higher due to the higher costs.”

Despite allocating $45 million for the expansion of Australia’s EV charging station network – disclosed in Victoria’s 2021 Budget – which the Government claims will ‘more than offset’ the new tax, neither the Victorian nor Federal Government have announced a target for the distribution or uptake of low and zero-emission vehicles.

The establishment of a target would send clear signs to consumers and industry stakeholders that the Government supports and will be accountable for the transition away from high-emission vehicles. Their refusal to do so stifles the growth of what could be a lucrative new industry.

“I think government has to climb up. In terms of regulations — it’s easy, don’t make it hard on people, because then they will have antipathy,” said Hendro Sutono, an unassuming property developer and electric vehicle enthusiast from central Jakarta. Despite his passion, Sutono rarely uses electric vehicles, opting instead for public transport where he can avoid the stifling smog of traffic in gridlock.

Jakarta’s air pollution isn’t just bad, it’s toxic. According to research by the University of Chicago, the air alone is cutting almost two-and-a-half years from the average resident’s lifespan. Including Sutono’s.

Sutono hopes that “easier rules” will result in much more of Jakarta’s 1.38 million commuters transitioning to low or zero-emission vehicles. Commuters whose gridlocked engines would otherwise run idle, spluttering putrid air.

Sutono explained:

“Because when I’m using my electric cars in the traffic jam, the man behind me is happy because I’m not emitting any exhaust gas. But I’m not.”

The Coalition’s foolhardy war on electric cars

If Indonesia’s electric vehicle policy is effective at achieving the 20% target set by President Joko Widodo last year, it is highly likely given current growth statistics that Indonesia, a developing country, will have a significantly higher percentage of electric vehicles than Australia by 2025.

According to the Electric Vehicle Council’s 2020 report, 6,718 electric vehicles were sold in Australia during 2019, which represented 0.6% of Australia’s total new car sales and a 300% increase in electric car sales from 2018.

Data provided by the Association of Indonesia Automotive Industries (GAIKINDO) shows that Indonesia’s total electric vehicle sales totalled approximately 15,524 in 2019, or 1.5% of Indonesia’s total vehicle sales. Almost all were scooters and motorbikes. Only 24 were cars — a 2,300% growth from 2018 when only a single car was sold.

Indonesia’s economic incentives have also attracted investment from private interests. The ubiquitous taxi company Blue Bird Group, which operates across Indonesia, has this year introduced 200 electric vehicles to its Jakartan taxi fleet. A further 2,000 have been slated for introduction by 2025.

Fergi Verdisanya has been a driver for the Blue Bird taxi group for five years, ferrying airport-goers to and from hotels. He has a perfect record, the kind that qualified him to drive one of what was at the time only 30 new Blue Bird e-taxis.

Verdisanya says his passengers have already started asking about the car and thinks that with enough time and investment customers will soon embrace the new. “This one is way better, it has an automatic transmission, it’s roomier and…” (at this point, a motorcycle roars past and he stops for a moment) “…it’s quieter,” Verdisanya finishes with a faint smile.

Much like Australia, the most significant impediment facing Indonesia’s burgeoning electric vehicle industry is the availability of charging stations. At present, Blue Bird operates 11 such stations at its taxi depots, a further 20 are currently available to the general public, most are managed by private interests such as mega-mall Grand Indonesia.

With flying cars coming, should we really be building new roads?

Indonesia’s state-owned energy supplier Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) estimates that Indonesia will require 31,000 stations by 2030 in order to accommodate current government targets. Unlike Australia, the construction of this network will not be primarily facilitated by government investment, such as the $45 million earmarked for development in this year’s Victorian Budget. Instead, the onus is on private players, with indirect support from the Government through tax and grant incentives.

GAIKINDO co-Chairman Jongkie Sugiarto said:

“Very simply, if we rely on the Government, it will take too long until they can install all of these charging stations.”

Representing GAIKINDO, Sugiarto suggested to the Ministry of Energy that instead, the Government should pass a mandate requiring hotels, shopping malls and office buildings to equip 1% of their available parking spaces with electric charging stations:

“For instance, a hotel owner such as Grand Hyatt Jakarta would have 500 parking lots. Okay, equip it with five charging stations. Or an office building owner which has 300. Okay, equip it with three. So, within six months you will have maybe 5,000 charging stations all over Jakarta.”

The Government’s obligation, Sugiarto says, would be to simply exempt recharging equipment from import duties. He believes that the private sector wouldn’t object to the proposed regulation and that, much like the introduction of air conditioning 50 years ago, the stations could represent a significant promotion of their business.

Sugiarto explains:

“If companies can say ‘come and shop with us here, I have a charging station’, it is a promotion for them and the customer can pay for a half-an-hour charge whilst drinking their Starbucks coffee.”

John Thompson is a freelance journalist, ACICIS alumni and a student of communications at RMIT.

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