Battery dies on EV tax

Riddells Creek resident Chris Murphy with her Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid electrical vehicle (supplied).

Zoe Moffatt

A Riddells Creek resident and hybrid electric vehicle owner has welcomed the High Court ruling that Victoria’s electric vehicle (EV) tax is unconstitutional, saying the plug should have been pulled on the tax years ago.

The High Court handed down the landmark decision on October 18, saying the commonwealth reserves the power to impose such a tax, which was introduced by the state government in 2021.

From July 1, 2023, the zero and low emission vehicle (ZLEV) charge imposed a 2.8 cents per kilometer charge for EV and hydrogen vehicles, and 2.3 cents per kilometer charge for plug-in hybrid electrical vehicles.

Speaking about the decision, resident Chris Murphy agreed EV owners should pay for road maintenance, but it was unfair hybrid owners had to pay the ZLEV on top of paying tax through petrol.

“The government has weighted their taxes against people going electric. I think we’re in the dark ages,” she said.

“They have to make it viable for people to buy electric and hybrid cars. We want to stay green but the government has our hands tied behind our backs.

“Eighty per cent of my driving is petrol, yet I’m paying 2.3 cents per kilometer on top of the tax I pay through buying petrol.

“I’m finding that unfair and unjust. The plug should have been pulled on the tax years ago.”

Speaking to reporters outside parliament Greens MP Katherine Copsey said the High Court ruling was a win for the climate.

“Labor’s electric vehicle tax was always a ridiculous idea,” Ms Copsey said. “It’s great to see that the community has had this win today.

“Transport is Victoria’s fastest growing source of emissions and we need to see a change in direction.

“Labor now needs to refund the tax that’s been paid by electric vehicle users, they need to repeal it in parliament and they should go further to correct course.”

A statement on the VicRoads website said the government is reviewing the High Court’s decision to understand its implications and how it will be implemented.

It said all ZLEV customers will be contacted directly to explain what the decision means for them.