28/10/2021 | Rob Lucas MLC

In a huge vote of confidence in the Marshall Government’s sweeping reforms to help drive the take-up of zero and low emission vehicles in South Australia, the Government’s new Motor Vehicles (Electric Vehicle Levy) Amendment Bill 2021 has passed State Parliament’s Legislative Council.

Subject to the final passage of the Bill, which was backed by SA Best and independent Hon John Darley MLC with previous public support from the RAA and other business and industry groups, there will be further generous incentives for local motorists to purchase battery electric vehicles.

The changes (part of a total package worth approximately $22.7 million) include:

  • A $3,000 subsidy* available for the first 7,000 (up from 6,000) battery electric vehicles purchased in South Australia following the passage of the Bill.
  • A 3-year motor registration fee exemption for new battery electric vehicles* purchased following the passage of the Bill up until and including June 30, 2025. The exemption will apply for three years from the vehicle’s date of purchase.
  • Further, a Select Committee of the Legislative Council will be established as soon as practicable after 1 year from commencement of the Act to consider longer term issues relating to the use of electric vehicles in the State (including infrastructure, training and the disposal of batteries and other electric vehicle components).

The Bill maintains the delayed introduction of the Electric Vehicle Road User charge from 1 July 2022 to 1 July 2027, or when the sale of battery electric vehicles reaches 30 per cent of new motor vehicle sales in SA, whichever is earlier.

Treasurer Rob Lucas welcomed the successful package of the Bill through the Upper House as a “critical moment for the future of South Australia”.

The pace of change is overwhelming - where the future is zero emissions, the future is electric vehicles,” said Mr Lucas.

“We welcome the groundswell of support from the Parliament and key industry bodies, including the RAA, for our important reforms which will help drive the take-up of environmentally friendly zero and low emission vehicles while ensuring there is a long-term sustainable model for critical road funding.

“They know, as the state transitions towards a higher concentration of zero and low emission vehicles, it’s vital to ensure all vehicle owners, regardless of what car they drive, contribute to the upkeep of our roads into the future.”

Mr Lucas said the Marshall Government had already made the single largest investment in electric vehicles in the state’s history through its $18.3m Electric Vehicle Action Plan – announced as part of the State Budget 2020-21 – and had consulted widely with industry, manufacturers and other interest groups on the Bill.

“As part of our ongoing consultation, we acknowledged the need for further incentives which is why we’ve increased by 1,000 the number of subsidies for the purchase of eligible new battery electric vehicles and are giving 3 years’ worth of free motor reg to eligible EV motorists,” Mr Lucas said.

Earlier this year, the RAA joined the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and Business SA in welcoming the up-front incentive and the extended introduction of the road user charge.

SA joins Victoria and New South Wales that have introduced an electric vehicle road user charge. Tasmania has also announced an intention to introduce a similar charge from 2027.

Modelled on similar schemes in New South Wales and Victoria, the road user charge would be calculated at 2 cents per km (indexed) for plug-in hybrid vehicles, and 2.5 cents per km (indexed) for any other electric vehicles.

The road user charge would be calculated and billed in arrears as part of the vehicle registration process. The charge will be calculated based on the distance travelled since the last registration renewal. This means that for those who pay their registration annually, the first road user charge payment will not occur until a year or more after the relevant commencement date.

*There will be a price cap of $68,750 (inc GST) to provide an incentive to bring lower-priced electric vehicles to the market and avoid subsidising expensive electric vehicles. The subsidy and registration fee exemption will not be available for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

The Bill will now go to the House of Assembly, which had already passed the original Bill, to consider the amendments.