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Plan to hit motorists with tax per kilometre

·2-min read
A man removing $100 notes from a wallet and traffic congestion on Parramatta road in Sydney.
A controversial new plan suggests charging motorists for their "travel choices" to increase the uptake of electric vehicles (Source: Getty)

The Government is considering introducing a new tax on non-electric vehicles in good news for the environment but bad news for Aussies who commute for work.

As part of the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan, Australians could be taxed for the impact their “individual choices” have.

The report, released today, said electric car manufacturers have been providing more efficient, lower operating cost vehicles to countries with higher fuel efficiency standards.

It suggests that because Australia is trailing behind we have been left with more expensive and “carbon-intrusive” alternatives.

“To reverse this situation, the Australian Government must enact vehicle emissions standards and introduce a new carbon dioxide standard,” the report said.

“In addition, current fuel efficiency standards should be revised. These standards are a low-cost, low impact option to reduce emissions.”

But it’s the suggestion about how we boost the uptake of electric vehicles that will spell trouble for some.

The report suggests that charging Aussies per kilometre they travel could prove to be a good incentive to get laggards to go electric.

“Encouraging zero emissions vehicle uptake is in the best interests of users and taxpayers,” the report said.

“No single agency, government or sector can drive the systemic transformation Australia needs to introduce zero emission vehicles. There needs to be a concerted Australia-wide effort.”

The plan suggests road users bear responsibility for road infrastructure and be responsible for their “travel choices”.

“It will pass on to road users the direct costs of transport infrastructure and services and the external costs of their travel choices, such as emissions, collisions and congestion,” it said.

“Distance-based road-use pricing reforms for all vehicles could build on current heavy vehicle initiatives and other proposals by individual jurisdictions and be incrementally rolled out nationwide.”

This means petrol car users could be charged for the damage their vehicle does to the roads, the emissions it puts out and the congestion it causes.

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