Rob Lucas is proposing a carrot before the stick to electric car buyers. A state-funded subsidy now, and an exemption to the tax for another five years.
A $3000 state-funded subsidy for new electric vehicle buyers and a five-year delay in hitting their drivers with a road-user charge is being proposed by Treasurer Rob Lucas.
In twin concessions, Mr Lucas wants to give the upfront, time-limited subsidy to up to 6000 electric vehicle owners and postpone the introduction of an electric vehicle (EV) road-user charge from mid-2022 to mid-2027.
The controversial plan, unveiled in the 2020 state budget, would require electric vehicle owners to pay 2c/km for plug-in hybrids and 2.5c/km for other vehicles.
Labor and upper house crossbenchers have attacked the earlier proposal as damaging to the environment by stymieing a growing market but Mr Lucas on Thursday will introduce legislation enabling the charge.
The Bill would allow the tax to be introduced earlier than mid-2027 if EVs reached 30 per cent of new motor vehicle sales in SA.
Mr Lucas said the new subsidy package would bring to $36m the total level of government support for EVs.
“We are committed to investing to help drive the take-up of environmentally friendly zero and low-emission vehicles while ensuring there is a long-term sustainable model for critical road funding,” Mr Lucas said.
He said drivers of zero and low-emission cars paid little or no fuel excise and a user charge would be needed for road funding once their take-up increased.
Victoria’s Labor government in May announced a $3000 EV subsidy and from July 1 imposed an EV road-user charge similar to that proposed in SA. NSW also is planning to introduce a charge in mid-2027 or when EVs comprise 30 per cent of new car sales.
Mr Lucas said the $3000 SA subsidies were contingent on the Bill passing parliament, which he said looked unlikely, although he remained hopeful.
Mr Lucas put the legislation on ice in March after a backlash from EV advocates.
His renewed enthusiasm hinges on creating future revenue that could be ploughed directly into state coffers, as opposed to fuel excise harvested by the federal government, then distributed to states.
Deputy Opposition Leader Susan Close on Tuesday reiterated Labor’s opposition to the “shortsighted electric vehicle tax” as she called on state parliament to declare SA faced a climate emergency.
Dr Close, also Labor’s environment spokeswoman, urged support for “projects and policies which are climate-friendly and encourage growth in resilient low-carbon businesses as we strive for net zero emissions by 2050”.
Extracted from Adelaide Now