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Government VIC, Transport Automotive

HIGH COURT STRIKES DOWN VICTORIA’S ELECTRIC VEHICLE TAX

Equity Generation Lawyers 2 mins read

CANBERRA OCTOBER 18, 2023: Two Victorian electric vehicle drivers, Chris Vanderstock and Kathleen Davies, have welcomed today’s landmark judgment in the High Court of Australia which found that Victoria’s electric vehicle tax is unconstitutional.

Mr Vanderstock and Ms Davies brought the constitutional challenge in September 2021, arguing that the State of Victoria lacks the constitutional power to levy a road user charge on electric vehicle drivers.

The Victorian Government introduced the tax in July 2021.  Electric vehicle owners pay between 2.3 cents and 2.8 cents for every kilometre they drive in and outside Victoria.  The EV tax has been described as the “worst electric vehicle policy in the world”, and the Victorian Ombudsman has recently found that the “legislation is being administered unfairly”.

David Hertzberg, Senior Associate at Equity Generation Lawyers, representing the drivers at the High Court, said:

“This is a landmark constitutional decision.

“Today’s judgment means that Victoria’s electric vehicle tax is invalid.  It also sets a precedent which will likely prevent other States from implementing similar legislation.”

“I am thrilled by today’s judgment,” says Ms Davies.

“Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world on electric vehicle uptake.  Now is not the time to be taxing electric vehicles - it’s the time to be doing everything we can to encourage people to make the switch to cleaner cars.

“The Victorian government has been moving in the wrong direction - it went out alone in taxing electric vehicles, and recently it scrapped its electric vehicle subsidy.

“We hope that today’s decision paves the way for the federal government to make coherent national policy which accelerates the transition to electric vehicles.”

Mr Vanderstock, who works as a nurse manager, said:

“This is a great outcome not only for Victorian electric vehicle drivers, but for all Australians.

“Electric vehicles are fun to drive, but they also help decrease carbon emissions, reduce pollution, and improve our health. 

“We believe that Victoria’s electric vehicle tax discouraged people from buying EVs, and punished existing EV owners who are trying to do the right thing.  It was an ad hoc, piecemeal policy which undermined our collective efforts to reduce emissions from transport.

“We hope that today’s decision is a step in the right direction towards a cleaner, lower emissions future.”

Counsel for the drivers are Ron Merkel KC, Craig Lenehan SC, Frances Gordon SC and Thomas Wood.

Important documents in the case can be found here.

ENDS

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Dylan Quinnell on 0450 668 350.

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