The Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) has hailed the High Court’s decision to overturn Victoria’s ill-considered electric vehicle tax.
A majority of the High Court has ruled in favour of two Victorian drivers of electric cars, Chris Vanderstock and Kath Davies, who argued Victoria’s road user charge was unconstitutional.
The charge, about two cents per kilometre, was designed to match the contribution to road maintenance made by the drivers of fuel-driven vehicles through Federal Government excise.
The court ruled the tax was an excise and therefore could not be levied by states or territories.
It is expected the decision will prevent other states from pursuing plans to introduce road user charges on electric vehicles.
EVC has applauded the decision as a win for Australian motorists, a win for the environment, and a win for the national interest.
Chief executive Behyad Jafari said the High Court ruling would pave the way to better policy across the nation.
“There is nothing inherently wrong with road user charges, but they should never be calibrated to discourage the take up of electric vehicles,” Mr Jafari said.
“The electric vehicle industry warned the Victorian Government this policy was muddleheaded years ago, and the offer has always been on the table to work with the state on a more sensible approach.
“Any road user charge scheme should be national and we now look forward to working with the federal government on sensible road funding reform, without singling out drivers who are trying to do the right thing.
“Any scheme should apply to all vehicles and should take into consideration the economic cost of emissions.
“Australia’s priority should be on boosting the transition to EVs and decarbonising our transport system. There is no need for Australia to be dependent on imported oil today.