Victoria’s controversial new electric vehicle tax has been slammed once again, this time by a coalition of 25 organisations with various interests in EV technology.
The group — comprised of car manufacturers, infrastructure companies, industry groups and environmentalists — penned an open letter to the Victorian government published as a full-page advertisement in Thursday’s edition of The Age.
“The Andrews Government’s proposed tax on electric vehicles is the only stand-alone electric vehicle tax in the world,” the letter states.
“This new tax means the world’s manufacturers are far less likely to send Victorians their best, most affordable, zero-emissions vehicles.
“That makes things much harder for Victorian families who want to buy and drive electric.”
“Every other state and territory in Australia has ruled out or delayed plans for a premature new tax on electric vehicles. Going it alone will mean Victoria has the worst electric vehicle policy in the world,” the letter claims.
Hyundai, Volkswagen, Uber, Jetcharge, the Clean Energy Council, Solar Citizens, Doctors for the Environment Australia and the Australia Institute all signed the letter, which comes just two weeks after the Australian Industry Group (AIG) slammed the proposed new legislation.
“Volkswagen does not ask for incentives to import zero-emissions vehicles, rather for the abandonment of such disincentives as this ill-conceived anomaly of a tax,” Volkswagen Group managing director Michael Bartsch said.
According to a leaked report to the Board of Treasurers prepared by the Victorian government, implementing the per-kilometre tax without incentivising EVs in other ways would be the fasted way to raise revenue in the state. However, it would come at the cost of a significantly slower uptake of EVs in Victoria.
The report also noted that the tax would likely “face strong opposition” and discourage the uptake of cleaner vehicles, which doesn’t sound like a particularly good thing for the planet.
In addition to penalising drivers for choosing the cleaner, more sustainable option, the proposed new tax would also disproportionally impact drivers in regional and rural areas, where public transport is scarce (or non-existent) and people travel greater distances.
Obviously we’ll have to rejig the way we tax road users as more drivers move towards electric vehicles, but when just 0.2% of Australians own an EV, it simply isn’t the right time.
“It’s something governments should look at after adoption of EVs has been more successful. Priority should be to make them more affordable, not more expensive,” Electric Vehicles Council chief executive Behyad Jaffari said, accepting the fact that road usage tax will eventually need to be implemented.
Critics of the tax have also asserted that the government should treat electric vehicles like it treats solar energy.
“The Victorian Government is helping households install cleaner solar energy, and they should be leading the charge and making it easier for Victorians to invest in cleaner transport,” said Ellen Roberts, National Director of Solar Citizens.
“Just like rooftop solar, we want to see electric vehicles become more affordable for everyday Australians. But this tax on cleaner vehicles will just jam on the handbrake,” Roberts added.
So if everyone is so convinced that the new tax will be detrimental to the uptake of electric vehicles in Victoria, why is the government still going ahead with it?