Australian federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers hopes to introduce a swathe of tax incentives—similar to some state governments—to help spur electric vehicle (EVs) sales in the country.
It comes as the Labor Party puts forward legislation on the first day of Parliament, July 27, to enshrine a hard emissions reduction target of 43 percent by 2030.
Under the Treasury Laws Amendment (Electric Car Discount) Bill 2022, employers would not need to pay fringe benefits tax on EVs provided to their workers and could also pay less tax on salary sacrifice arrangements that involve leasing EVs.
The treasurer estimated employers could save around $9,000 a year if they were to provide a $50,000 EV to a worker. While an individual could save $4,700.
Eligible cars would include EVs, hydrogen full cell cars, and plug-in hybrids that come below the luxury car tax threshold.
“This sends an unmistakable signal to this Parliament, to Australian industry and to the Australian people—and beyond—that Australia now has a government which understands the economics of cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy,” he told Parliament.
The initiative will be reviewed in three years to monitor its effectiveness. The government will also remove a five percent import tariff (tax) on eligible EVs.
The tax cuts for EVs come as Australia stares down the barrel of rising inflation, interest rates, grocery prices, petrol prices, and building costs. Further, economists have already called on the federal government to cut spending to reduce the billions in debt—accumulated during the lockdown era—for there to be any chance of controlling inflation.
Pushing Ahead With Climate Change Action Despite Scientific Concerns
The move comes as the government submits its Climate Change Bill 2022 which will enshrine a new emissions reduction target into law. The Labor Party has upped the previous government’s target of 26-28 percent by 2030 to 43 percent.
The Albanese government will also push to overhaul how Australia generates electricity with a pledge for 80 percent of the grid to be powered by renewable energy—currently, over 64 percent of the grid is powered via coal-fired generation.
According to Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen, “2030 is 89 months away. We do not have long to achieve these goals. We have been waiting too long, and now is the time to get on with it.”
The new tax incentives coupled with state-level sweeteners, like Queensland’s $3,000 cash rebate for EV purchases or the Australian Capital Territory’s $15,000 no-interest loans, form a major campaign to win over Australian drivers.
At the same time, governments will need to invest billions into building new renewable energy generators (wind, solar, hydro, and hydrogen if feasible), storage facilities, and transmission networks at a nationwide scale.
Several experts have pointed to major problems with this push.
Peter Ridd, a former professor at James Cook University, has said scientists pushing their climate change conclusions need to be challenged. He referenced research carried out on the Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s natural environment, saying some researchers had downplayed data that contradicted the climate change narrative.
“The proverbial man in the street has to be able to trust the scientists. And unfortunately, I think that we no longer can,” he previously told The Epoch Times. “And that’s why I’m calling for quality assurance on these sorts of reports so that we can have some genuine faith at the moment.”
While Nick Kastelstein, a senior mechanical engineer at GPA Engineering in Adelaide, said media outlets had oversimplified the climate change debate and the technology to back net-zero.
“The Hornsdale battery in South Australia, for example, if you looked at the state’s electricity supply curve, you can hardly even see what is contributed by the battery,” he previously told The Epoch Times. “That kind of bulk storage that we would need for renewable sources isn’t going to cut it. I think everyone who’s realistic knows that.”