Victoria’s attempt to levy a 2.8c per kilometre tax on EV owners has ended, with the High Court not just striking down the law in Victoria, but ruling it amounted to an “excise” – which Australia’s Constitution forbids states from collecting.
The judgement, available here on the Australian Legal Information Institute website, means no other state will be able to follow Victoria’s lead.
The Victorian government’s tax was last year labelled the “worst EV policy in the world” in an open letter signed by dozens of companies in the electric vehicle space.
EV owners Christopher Vanderstock and Kathleen Davies took the Victorian government to court over the tax in 2021, and were able to get the backing of the Australian Trucking Association and the Commonwealth Attorney-General. The other states and territories backed Victoria.
Commenting on the victory, Mr. Vanderstock said:
‘The world’s worst EV policy is GONE! This is a key moment for all Australians, and I hope that everyone is celebrating right now!”
The court case hinged on whether the EV levy amounted to an excise, as constitutional expert professor Anne Twomey explained in 2022 to The Guardian, or a consumption tax, which isn’t prohibited by the Constitution.
The High Court’s majority judgement noted this is the first time this century the court has been asked to rule on the relevant part of the Constitution, Section 90.
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Victoria was ordered to pay costs in the proceedings.
Considering fueling an EV with solar energy can cost less than 1c per kilometre, this is great news for the overall cost of EV ownership in Victoria.
If you have an EV, don’t miss Finn’s ‘EV Charging 101‘, which covers everything you need to know about charging your electric vehicle at home and on Australia’s roads.