Tesla Chairman Robyn Denholm Says Australia Is Missing Battery Manufacturing Opportunities


“We have the know-how, we have the skills and an abundance of mineral resources.”

Ms Denholm replaced Tesla founder Elon Musk as chairwoman in 2018, having served on the electric carmaker’s board as an independent director since 2014.

According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the Tesla Model 3 was the fourth most popular car by new sales in August and by far the most popular electric vehicle.

The government has introduced legislation to remove employee benefit tax and import tariffs for electric vehicles, designed to boost the uptake of electric vehicles.

Unsurprisingly, Ms Denholm has pushed for greater adoption of electric vehicles in Australia and for policies that force automakers to adopt new vehicle standards requiring them to make more efficient cars.

“No country has more to gain from the world’s shift to electric vehicles than Australia,” she said. “We can be a renewable energy superpower. Australia is one of the few countries in the world to have all the essential minerals needed for lithium-ion batteries.

“Over the past decade, most other developed countries have introduced new vehicle standards forcing automakers to improve the efficiency of new cars. Australia no. As a result, our gas bills are 30% higher and among the dirtiest in the world.

“For the first time ever, the average family is spending over $5,000 a year on gasoline. Our cars don’t need to be so dirty or so expensive to run.

Ms Denholm was one of several tech industry figures to take part in the recent Jobs and Skills Summit, alongside SafetyCulture CEO Luke Anear and Atlassian’s Scott Farquhar.

Boost technology

One of the Tech Council’s top priorities is to change the composition of exports in Australia, in the belief that tech exports should be much more than their current contribution to GDP of 8.5%.

Ms Denholm noted that the country has created 67 tech companies since 2010 with a valuation of $100 million or more, and that Australia has produced 21 of the world’s 920 tech unicorns (companies with a valuation of over $1 billion). dollars).

The Tech Council wants 150,000 more people to enter technology jobs over the next four years.

To achieve these goals, she said Australia needs to align public and private sector efforts to generate coordinated investment in the country’s key areas of strength, improve policy fundamentals, modernize regulations to better adapt to the digital economy, and identify and address the sector. specific market failures and funding gaps in “high potential” areas such as quantum computing.

Ms Denholm said there was “considerable room” to improve the much-used research and development tax incentive to “better recognize that digital innovation was now the predominant R”.&model D in Australia”.

She also said the country could do more to attract investment from countries such as the US, UK and Japan.

Ms Denholm also highlighted the need to increase the number of people working in tech, calling for measures to boost women’s participation and praising the creation of a digital learning program and the reduction of the visa backlog. for foreign workers.

“Australia has shown its potential to create and attract global technology companies over the past two decades. Over the next few decades, Australia has an incredible opportunity to further strengthen its regional position in strategic technology industries,” said she declared.


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