17
Sep

Drivers are challenging Victoria’s electric vehicle tax, arguing it may be unconstitutional

Key points:

  • The levy taxes electric vehicle drivers between 2 and 2.5 cents per kilometre
  • Lawyers argue the state government can’t impose levy consumption taxes
  • Electric vehicle owner Kathleen Davies says the tax is unfair on those trying to do “the right thing”

Two electric car drivers have launched a High Court challenge to Victoria’s tax on electric vehicles, arguing the state’s levy is unconstitutional.

Victoria introduced the levy in July, which charges road users based on how much they travel. Electric vehicle drivers are charged between 2-2.5 cents per kilometre.

Lawyers representing two drivers have filed documents with the High Court, arguing Victoria does not have constitutional power to introduce the tax.

Lawyer Jack McLean from Equity Generation Lawyers said the constitution gave the power to levy consumption taxes to the Commonwealth, not the states.

“Our argument will be in the High Court that this is essentially a tax on consumption, and a tax on consumption is a tax that only the federal government can levy,” he said.

He likened the levy to the GST.

He said the current fuel tax was levied by the federal government.

“And that’s because the state government doesn’t have the power, arguably, to levy those taxes under the constitution,” he said.

Case argues levy is unfair for those ‘trying to do the right thing’

Kathleen Davies bought an electric car in 2012, and said driving it was “a breath of fresh air”.

She said she had never taken legal action before, but contacted Equity Generation wanting to be part of the challenge.

“Not only does it feel wrong from a constitutional point of view, it feels very unfair as a citizen trying to do the right thing and reduce my greenhouse gas emission,” she said.

“And it worries me it’s going to put the brakes on further EV adoption.”

Ms Davies said she used her car to get to work and for personal use but at the moment “it’s sitting in the garage not doing much” because of COVID restrictions.

The ABC has contacted the Victorian government for comment.

Extracted from ABC