“It’s no good looking at it in terms of how does it look in the next three years, it’s how does it look in seven, 10, 20 years, is the real issue,” Mr Shepherd said after a Committee for Economic Development Australia business lunch in Adelaide.

That applied to how mobile phones were treated at the end of their useful life, and would increasingly be a problem to be solved for home storage batteries.

“It goes for everything.”

Tony Shepherd is aghast at the throwaway society that has emerged in Australia. Jessica Hromas

Electric vehicles are in the spotlight in the lead-up to the federal election on May 18, with Labor Leader Bill Shorten putting forward an ambitious strategy of having 50 per cent of all new vehicles sold in Australia being electric vehicles by 2030.

It has been roundly criticised by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the federal Coalition as an attack on trades people driving utes, and the broader Australian way of life. Mr Morrison last week labelled it an assault on the freedoms of local motorists and their love of vehicles which had some “grunt”.

Mike Cannon-Brookes, the billionaire co-founder of software company Atlassian and a fierce backer of renewable energy, was highly critical of the government’s lack of support for electric vehicles.

Mr Shepherd, who is also the chairman of global infrastructure fund Macquarie Specialised Management, said he was born in the 1940s and was very conscious of the sustainability of projects along with the economics, when assessing the merits of infrastructure projects.

This is the most wasteful society the world has ever seen

Tony Shepherd

He is aghast at the throwaway society that has emerged in Australia and much of the Western world.

“This is the most wasteful society the world has ever seen,” he said earlier during his lunch speech.

Mr Shepherd, who has been appointed chairman of the newly established Infrastructure SA agency in South Australia by Premier Steven Marshall, said it wasn’t just economics that would be the final arbiter of whether a project should go ahead.

He said in the 1920s if a proposal had been put forward to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it would not have gained the green light on pure economic grounds.

“It probably wouldn’t have got up,” he said.


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