Share the Story:

The Government seems to believe that electric vehicle owners are a type of modern-day saint. Now the Government thinks that this group deserves yet more taxpayer largesse with the creation of new efficiency standards.

These standards would set a limit for the carbon emissions that can come out of the back of the tailpipe of Australian cars. If a company sells a car with carbon emissions above the limit, they are made to pay a tax. If their car is below the limit (say an EV), they get a credit. In effect, this new system is a form of carbon tax on cars.

This new carbon tax will subsidise the EV buying choices of inner-city Australians at the cost of Australians working in country areas that normally have little choice over what car they buy.

A tradesman needs a ute, farmers need an off-road 4WD and miners need a large car that can navigate the substandard roads that take them to and from work. There are no electric vehicles in these categories today that are practical and available at a reasonable cost. So, this new tax will hit coal miners so the Government can fund yet another subsidy to Tesla owners.

The Government claims that its new carbon tax on cars won’t have a big impact because a similar scheme has operated in the US for decades. But the US scheme exempts large utes (or trucks in American lingo). Under the Australian scheme, Ford Rangers, Toyota Hiluxes, Nissan Navaras, and all similar cars, will be covered. Only large vehicles like semi-trailers and tractors are exempt.

The Australian Government’s plans are also more aggressive than in the US. The Australian Government plans to reduce emission limits by 60 per cent over the next 5 years, whereas the US only reduced them by 25 per cent over the last five years. The Australian Government’s fine for exceeding limits is also three times that which has applied in the US.

Some simple sums show the impact of these changes. Australia’s most popular selling car, the Ford Ranger, emits 182 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre. The Government wants to set a limit of 81 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre by 2029, and plan to fine car manufacturers $100 per gram that they are over the limit. So, the Ford Ranger would be 101 grams over the limit, adding $10,100 to the cost of it.

Even if you assume that the Ranger’s engine gets more efficient over time, it would still be $8,000 to $9,000 over the Government’s carbon limits.

On the other side of the equation, a Tesla would get a subsidy of $15,000. The Government’s calculations take no account of the fact there are much more carbon emissions generated in the manufacture of a Tesla than the Ford Ranger.

Why is the Government making it harder for people to work in our mines and on our farms. These industries have been hit by the higher inflation and skyrocketing energy costs that hit Australian families too. Increasing the costs of doing business just makes us less productive and hence lowers wages. In the worst case, higher costs could threaten the viability of industries and jobs. Thousands of Australian nickel miners face losing their jobs because Indonesian mines are producing at lower cost than ours.

There is no reason to introduce a new carbon tax to our nation’s car saleyards. We need a Government that focuses on cutting spending, lowering taxes and red tape. That’s the only way to properly get inflation back down and lift real wages.

Hon Matt Canavan

Senator for QLD

Share the Story: