Victoria accused of undermining Australia’s ability to reach 2030 emissions reduction target by ending the rebate
A last-minute rush has seen more than 1,300 Victorians claim rebates on their electric vehicle purchases days before the state government ends the scheme, almost a year earlier than planned.
Government figures show Victorians have been claiming the $3,000 electric car subsidies at a rate of more than 60 a day since the change was announced early in June as part of the state’s 2024 budget.
But many more subsidies are available in other Australian states without plans to shut down their schemes, including in New South Wales, where more than 17,000 drivers could still claim a rebate, and in Queensland, which will double its subsidy for some buyers the day after Victoria ends its offer.
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RMIT engineering research fellow Dr Syed Ali said Victoria’s move to end vehicle rebates was premature and had the potential to slow electric vehicle adoption and see Australia fall short of its 2030 emissions reduction target.
The Victorian government revealed plans to scrap its $3,000 electric vehicle subsidy for motorists on its website earlier this month, with a spokeswoman saying the government had already “laid the groundwork” to achieve electric car sales of 50% by 2030.
But the move has inspired a rush on electric vehicle purchases and claims in the state, with 1,202 claims approved in just 20 days.
Late on Wednesday, only 1,466 rebates remained available until the scheme was due to close at 6pm on June 30.
By comparison, the NSW government had 17,872 rebates remaining on 30 May and South Australia had 6,100 rebates left on 16 May.
The Queensland government will also double its subsidy on electric vehicle purchases to $6,000 for households earning less than $180,000 a year, with new applications due to be released on 1 July.
Ali said Australia’s automotive market was not ready to see electric vehicle subsidies scrapped or reduced and the move could discourage drivers from purchasing zero-emission vehicles.
“Government incentives should not be reduced at least until Australia achieves 40% to 50% EV uptake, which is currently even less than 10%,” he said.
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“Some of the most important factors that enhance the EV uptake are the purchase incentives and favourable government policies and it is essential that we use these to encourage their swift uptake.”
Ali said removing EV subsidies could hamper Australian efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43% in 2030, and called for governments to also consider introducing disincentives for petrol and diesel vehicles, such as price penalties.
“Ideally, we hope the next generation never needs to learn how to put petrol in a car,” he said.
Electric vehicles made up 7.7% of all new cars sold in Australia during May, with 8,124 vehicles registered, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
The figure represents an increase of 778% on sales from May 2022.