Well folks, it happened. Victoria has officially become the first state in Australia to tax electric vehicle drivers after the highly debated and controversial new legislation passed in parliament overnight.
The Andrews government’s new electric vehicle tax legislation passed through the Victorian Upper House on Tuesday night without amendment, passing 19-14.
The bill was strongly opposed by the Victorian Greens, but ultimately passed with the support of crossbenchers from the Animal Justice Party and Reason Party.
From July 1, Victorian electric vehicle drivers will pay 2.5 cents per kilometre travelled.
Victorian Greens spokesperson for transport Sam Hibbins MP has already slammed the legislation in the wake of the announcement, labelling it “climate vandalism in the midst of a climate crisis.”
“Labor’s EV tax comes at a time when transport is our biggest growing source of emissions in Victoria and we are lagging behind the rest of the world in the uptake of electric vehicles,” Hibbins said.
“Passing the ‘worst electric vehicle policy in the world’ will now make Victoria a global laughing stock, and we will continue to be a laggard in EV uptake.”
In addition to strong backlash from the Victorian Greens, the policy has also been slammed by key stakeholders from car manufacturers to environmentalists in an open letter to the Victorian Government.
The tax is expected to raise $30 million in revenue over the next four years, costing the average EV owner between $260 and $300 per year.
While the government has announced a zero emissions vehicle subsidy that will see 20,000 subsidies of up to $3,000 given out to EV purchasers, the tax will undoubtedly still be a massive deterrent.
The new subsidy is only available for new EVs under $68,740, and are only available in small quantities. You can read more about the subsidy here.
Hibbins asserted that the upper house “failed” the test and neglected to stand up against climate change.
“This was a big test for the upper house, and they failed. Rather than stand on the side of climate action and the Victorian people, they decided to roll over and stand for nothing.”
Hibbins also confirmed to Gizmodo Australia that the Victorian Greens will appeal the decision.
“The Greens will move to repeal this backwards tax on clean air.”
Meanwhile, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has previously asserted that the 2.5 cent tax is “modest” compared to what combustion engine drivers pay through the fuel excise.
“Everybody who uses a road should pay their fair share to maintain them,” he said in a statement back in March.
The legislation comes after just 6900 electric vehicles were sold in Australia last year, with only 0.2% of Australians owning an EV.