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Labor offers free rego, stamp duty on electric vehicles

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Labor has promised to waive five years’ worth of stamp duty and registration fees for all new electric vehicles if it wins the state election.

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There are currently about 100 electric and zero-carbon-emissions vehicles (hydrogen powered cars that only emit small amounts of water) on South Australian roads.

Environment Minister Ian Hunter said Labor wanted to hasten an inevitable take-up of no-carbon-emissions vehicles.

“Of course, the fleet will turn over to a fleet of electric vehicles (and a) zero emissions fleet over a period of decades,” Hunter told a press conference this morning.

“We want to try and increase that, hurry it up, and get a penetration of electric vehicles and (zero-) emission vehicles into our fleet in Australia that look more like the European penetration.

“By the Government assisting buyers with a small incentive … hopefully, it will be enough to encourage more people.”

Because the fees to be waived increase with the price of a vehicle, exemption from them means that more expensive vehicles would reap greater savings.

New owners of an $80,000 electric vehicle would save $3755 over five years, whereas people who buy a vehicle worth $40,000 would save $2155 over five years.

Asked why people wealthy enough to buy expensive zero-carbon-emissions vehicles needed extra help, Hunter compared the idea with the Government’s former solar panel subsidies scheme.

“It’s like the early incentives that we put on rooftop (solar panels),” he argued.

“They were expensive then, but by putting an incentive in place you encourage more people to have a look at it and to go out and invest their own money in putting solar PV on their rooftops.

“That’s going gangbusters … the same will happen with electric vehicles.”

Responding to a suggestion the policy was regressive, Hunter told reporters: “No, it’s just for ease of regulation.”

Under the policy, vehicle owners would still have to pay the compulsory third party insurance premium, the lifetime support scheme levy and administration fees.

Motor vehicles contribute the largest source of air pollution in South Australia.

In Adelaide, emissions from transport contribute about 35 per cent of total emissions, the vast majority of which comes from private passenger cars.

Lord Mayor Martin Haese, who joined Hunter for the announcement, said the Adelaide City Council was planning to roll out more electric vehicle charging stations around the CBD and supported any policy that was likely to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles.

Asked about the Labor Party’s electric vehicles pledge this morning, Liberal Leader Steven Marshall told reporters: “The Liberal Party has already got a strong policy surrounding cost of living.”

“Our focus at this stage is bringing down taxes, returning or halving the emergency services levy in South Australia, capping council rates, bringing down water prices and electricity prices.

 “We’re focusing on the big issues that are going to deliver the big cost of living relief to all South Australians.” 

Liberal Party Treasury spokesperson Rob Lucas had told InDaily earlier in the morning that his party would consider “what incentives, if any, should be provided to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles”.

“The Liberal Party has a comprehensive plan for lowering costs for all South Australians not just those buying electric cars,” he said in a statement.

“The Weatherill Labor Government’s desperate and reckless spending spree is now well over $2 billion in just the last week.

“The promise of free rego and no stamp duty is just the latest in a long line of promises.”

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