Thanks to electric vehicle (EV) owners Kathleen Davies and Christopher Vanderstock, a controversial tax imposed by the local government of the Australian state of Victoria has been declared unconstitutional by the High Court.
On Wednesday, October 18th, the High Court ruled that Victoria’s EV tax fell under the category of excise and goods taxes. As such, the state government has no right to implement and collect it from motorists driving EVs and other low-emission vehicles.
It should be noted, however, that the “no” votes in this case made up a bare majority, winning with just four votes over three.
A Triumph for Motorists and the Environment
Nevertheless, the country’s Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) considers the High Court ruling a triumph, not only for Australian EV owners but also for environmentalists. EVC chief executive Behyad Jafari went so far as to say that the law Victoria officials tried to implement had been called out by both EV advocates and environmentalists well before it was first implemented in 2021.
Jafari explained that, while there is nothing wrong with the imposition of road use taxes or fees, the Victoria government appeared to use it as a deterrent to keep its citizens from opting for EVs instead of conventional vehicles.
Following the High Court ruling, members of the Victorian Green party called upon the state government to issue refunds for all taxes collected from EV owners since 2021. For her part, party MP Ellen Sandell suggested that subsidies be put in place to encourage Victorians to make the switch to greener transportation.
Sandell also pointed out how the state’s EV law was one of the world’s least sensible environmental policies and how the government needs to rethink its strategies regarding the reduction of pollution on Australian roads.