Tasmanians thinking of buying an electric vehicle in the next two years won’t pay stamp duty, as part of a pro-EV package promised by the Tasmanian Liberal government, which is set to win a third term of government following Saturday’s election.
Under the package, which aims to turn Tasmania into a “carbon neutral destination” for tourists, the island’s charging infrastructure will also be expanded with $600,000 of state funding, and car rental companies won’t have to pay registration on EVs.
The stamp duty exemption will apply to both new and used EVs, and will be in place for two years and will help offset the high cost of EVs.
“Tasmania is ideally suited to benefit from the transition to electric vehicles with our clean, low cost and reliable renewable energy, while at the same time reduce our dependence on imported fuels,” the Liberal Party document said.
It estimates this will reduce initial purchase costs of a “mid-range” EV by around $2,000.
Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein announced the polices ahead of last Saturday’s election. Gutwein now looks likely to win, though as of Monday morning his party was one seat short of the 13 needed to form a majority government, with three seats still in play.
But even without a majority, the Liberals are the only party close to having the numbers to form a government. Labor has won eight seats and is expected to win one more, meaning it will be four seats short of a majority. The Greens have won two, and two independents are the Liberals’ main challengers in the remaining two seats.
In a minority government a Gutwein government would therefore only need one crossbencher to support its EV policies to get them through – which doesn’t look like a big ask.
Currently only the ACT government offers EV owners a stamp duty holiday.
With the federal government missing in action on EV policy – its “future fuels strategy” offers no incentives and has been dismissed as a “do-nothing” policy – it’s largely up to the states and territories to find ways to incentivise motorists to go electric.
Until very recently most have declined the challenge, while Victoria had gone in the opposite direction, planning to tax EV drivers 2.5 cents for every kilometre they drive.
Over the weekend, though – in an apparent bid to persuade hostile crossbenchers in the upper house to pass the controversial road user charge – the Victorian Labor government announced it would offer $3,000 subsidies for up to 20,000 EVs with a sticker price of less than $69,000.
It also announced it wants half of all new cars sold in 2030 to be fully electrice or hydrogen-powered.
The Tasmania Liberals’ EV policies are the headline measures in a suite of climate and emissions-related policies, which include $250,000 for a new “Carbon Farming Advice Pilot Program”, the writing of a new climate change act, and $45 million in no-interest loans to pay for retrofitting homes to improve energy efficiency, installing solar panels on sports clubs and schools.
Tasmania already claims to be “net zero”, mostly thanks to sourcing nearly all of its electricity from hydro power, and for recording around 10 million tonnes of negative carbon emissions from the controversial emissions category, land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF).
James Fernyhough is a reporter at RenewEconomy and The Driven. He has worked at The Australian Financial Review and the Financial Times, and is interested in all things related to climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.