Call to jump-start electric vehicle industry


By Oliver Lees

An environmental organisation in the Macedon Ranges has slammed the state and federal government’s lack of incentives for Australians wishing to transition to electric vehicles.

Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group president David Gormley-O’Brien said Australia is falling behind the rest of the world and that an opportunity is being missed in not embracing the new technology.

“There’s a reticence from the federal government, there’s really no incentive to purchase an electric vehicle,” Mr Gormley-O’Brien said.

“In other countries, there are generous rebates for purchasing electric vehicles, you can receive tax exemptions, and there are a greater number of charging stations to reduce range anxiety.

“We’ve lost our manufacturing industry in Australia. It would be terrific if we moved to making electric vehicles, it would make electric vehicles more accessible for the average Australians and localise the industry.”

In Victoria, electric vehicles are exempt from luxury car stamp duty, which applies to purchases that cost more than $68,740.

The state government has set an objective of having half of all new car purchases be electric by 2030, and has announced a $100 reduction to electric vehicle registration fees for Victorians.

Since July 1, a 2.5 per cent per kilometre tax has been slapped on electric vehicles in Victoria.

Mr Gormley-O’Brien estimates this could cost drivers an extra $700 each year and “does nothing” to encourage Victorians to move to zero-emissions vehicles.

“The Victorian government’s target is not good enough, there should be a clear cut-off for when we are going to move on entirely from fossil fuel dependent vehicles,” he said.

There are currently no federal government incentives for Australians wishing to purchase an electric vehicle.

Australia’s Electric Vehicle Council chief executive, Behyad Jafari, saidabout 0.1 per cent of Victorian cars are electric.

“Victoria is already massively behind comparable jurisdictions in the US, the UK, and across Europe in terms of electric car uptake,” Mr Jafari said.

“The rest of the developed world is doing everything possible to encourage the uptake of electric cars … you don’t need to be much of an economist to know that if you whack a big new tax on something you discourage its use.”

Macedon Ranges council is currently installing two charging stations in Woodend and in Kyneton, council planning and environment director Angela Hughes said.

“Council’s next priority is to facilitate installation of a public charging station along the eastern corridor of the shire, heading to Heathcote,” she said.