Victorian electric car tax under fire

An electric vehicle advocate says the Victorian government‘s proposed tax on the cars is “the worst policy in the world” amid an increased push for the state to make the market more accessible and do more to reduce emissions.

The government faced backlash this week after proposing to tax zero emission cars 2.5c per kilometre travelled or 2c per kilometre for low emission cars.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said the policy would discourage the use of cleaner cars and was in direct contradiction of the state’s target to meet net zero emissions by 2050.

“Very obviously when you make something more expensive fewer people are going to buy it,” Mr Jafari said.

“Australia is already behind in the adoption of these vehicles. Other wealthy nations have put support in place for vehicle owners, yet we’re proposing to make things more expensive.

“It’s quite shocking.”

It comes after 25 auto manufacturers, environmentalists and big corporations signed an open letter speaking out against the proposal.

Car companies Hyundai, Volkswagen and Uber co-signed the letter with other advocates, claiming the new tax would mean manufacturers would be hesitant to send affordable, electric vehicles to the state.

No other jurisdictions have introduced the levy, and many industrialised countries are prioritising incentives for electric vehicle owners.

Mr Jafari said the proposed tax would make things harder for families who wanted to buy and drive electric cars and was in direct imposition of the state achieving its environmental targets.

On top of the cost impost, an administrative burden meant vehicle owners would have to keep odometer records for a five-year period that could be audited at any time.

“It sends a clear signal to car buyers to avoid the headache – why not allow the market to reach a level of maturity first and provide support in this time,” Mr Jafari said.

“Transport makes up 20 per cent of the state’s emissions, and if this continues Victoria will not be on track to achieving their targets.”

Victoria’s Innovation Minister Jaala Pulford said the government would proceed with the reform.

“Overwhelmingly, the Victorian community understands that for roads to be in good condition there needs to be a continual effort to maintain them, and that is a cost all road users need to bear,” she said.

“That’s what this reform is about.”

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