Thursday, 8 September 2022
Treasury Laws Amendment (Electric Car Discount) Bill 2022; Second Reading
Thank you very much for the opportunity to sum up the debate on the Treasury Laws Amendment (Electric Car Discount) Bill 2022. I want to genuinely thank members from all sides of the debate for their contribution to it. As we know, the bill amends the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 to provide a fringe benefits tax exemption for eligible electric cars that are made available by employers to employees—so, in effect, a tax cut to make electric vehicles cheaper and also to boost the supply of electric vehicles in our network. The exemption applies to battery electric cars, hydrogen fuel cell electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric cars that are below the luxury car tax threshold for fuel efficient cars. The exemption will apply to fringe benefits arising from the use or availability of an electric car from 1 July this year, provided the car was first made available for use on or after that date. Employers providing employees with an eligible electric car will not have to pay fringe benefit tax on that car, and the cost to employees of entering into salary-sacrificing arrangements in order to lease the car will now be less than it previously would have been.
This bill does implement an election commitment from the Albanese government. It's just one part of a much bigger plan to improve the uptake of electric vehicles in Australia, with further measures to be delivered as part of the National Electric Vehicle Strategy, which will be laid out by the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, and the minister for transport and others will have input into that strategy, as will the public, of course. The strategy can also consider matters beyond the scope of vehicle fringe benefits and beyond the remit of this legislation that we're considering today—things like charging facilities and other important parts of getting the EV ecosystem right in Australia. The fringe benefits tax exemption will be an ongoing measure, but it will be reviewed after three years, just so that we can make sure that it remains effective and it's doing the job that we want it to.
This is a significant signal that Australia now has a government that recognises the economic and generational imperative of acting on climate change. It is disappointing but not especially surprising to hear that those opposite don't support a tax cut for electric vehicles, which would bring down the cost of living and also incentivise the types of cars we increasingly want to see on our roads so that we can take climate change seriously but also take the cost of living crisis seriously at the same time.
This is a government that understands the opportunities of acting on climate change and of cleaner and cheaper energy and low emission cars. We intend to grab those opportunities for the benefit of the Australian people. This measure we're talking about today is good for motorists, employers and their workers, and it's good for the environment. All of that makes it good for our country as well. That's why I commend the bill to the house.