26 May 2021

Tim Quilty attacks Government's 'slimy and sneaky' electric vehicle tax cash grab

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty has condemned the Victorian Government’s proposed electric vehicle tax, calling it “a slimy and sneaky tactic”.

Mr Quilty said that, as a Liberal Democrat, he is opposed to increases in tax generally.

While shifting from excise tax to a road usage charge might be more efficient, Mr Quilty said, the Government was taking the opportunity to increase the net tax take which is something he could never support.

“This tax will make all driving more expensive,” Mr Quilty told Parliament on Tuesday evening.

“There is no suggestion that registration fees or fuel excise will be abandoned in favour of the road usage charge. This isn’t a ‘user pays’ reform, it’s a cash grab.”

Mr Quilty said the example of plug-in hybrid vehicles, which combine electric batteries and petrol generators to top up power, shone a spotlight on the Government’s attitude to taxes and how indifferent it is towards the environment.

“Plug-in hybrid vehicles are considered electric enough to pay the road user charge – even when they’re running on petrol and are paying fuel excise,” Mr Quilty said in his speech.

“At the same time, they are not considered electric enough to qualify for any of the incentives, tax credits, or other government schemes.

“Hybrid vehicles are an excellent stepping stone to bridge gaps left by infrastructure shortages, especially in regional areas. They use electric power most days but have the option for petrol travel for long distances. Despite this, they are the most adversely affected by this tax.”

Mr Quilty accused the Victorian Government of taking advantage of the small number of electric vehicle owners, meaning fewer objections to the tax.

“(Member for Eastern Metropolitan) Rod Barton let the cat out of the bag,” Mr Quilty said.

“He highlighted that the reason the tax is being introduced now is because so few people have electric vehicles so very few people will reject it.

“The explicit aim of this bill is to lock in a tax now before anyone is paying attention.

This is a slimy and sneaky tactic.”