Thursday, 24 November 2022
Treasury Laws Amendment (Electric Car Discount) Bill 2022; Second Reading
Katy Gallagher (ACT, Australian Labor Party, Minister for the Public Service) Share this | Hansard source
I would like to begin by thanking senators who have contributed to the debate. The Treasury Laws Amendment (Electric Car Discount) Bill 2022 implements the government's election commitment to provide a fringe benefits tax exemption for employer provided eligible electric cars. The bill amends the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 to exempt from fringe benefits tax the use or availability of eligible electric cars made available by employers to employees from 1 July 2022.
The Senate Economics Legislation Committee has considered and reported on the bill. We thank the committee for its work, and we also acknowledge and thank the individuals and organisations who provided submissions through that and appeared at the public hearings. Overwhelmingly there was support for the measures; however, some thought the bill could go further and raised issues such as fuel efficiency standards and the need for a comprehensive national electric vehicle strategy.
The government is putting in place the next steps to establish Australia's first national electric vehicle strategy. At the heart of the strategy will be a plan to improve uptake of electric vehicles and further improve affordability and choice by growing the Australian electric vehicle market. The government welcomes the committee's recommendation that the bill be passed.
The Australian Greens support a fringe benefits tax exemption for electric cars but are recommending that plug-in hybrid vehicles be excluded on the basis that such vehicles are not zero-emission vehicles. While the government appreciates this view, it also recognises our current low take-up of any electric vehicles and the important role that plug-in hybrids can play in facilitating Australia's transition to zero-emission vehicles, particularly in rural and regional areas.
The Greens have also recommended the inclusion of personal electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The government is looking at more direct support for EV charging through our Powering Australia plan, and the Minister for Climate Change and Energy recently announced funding for a streetside EV charger trial.
We acknowledge that the opposition provided a dissenting report recommending that the bill not be supported and that the funds be redeployed to other methods of increasing EV uptake, including infrastructure. The government is supporting EV infrastructure through the Powering Australia plan and exploring further options to increase electric vehicle uptake through the National Electric Vehicle Strategy.
The amendments contained in this bill will incentivise greater electric car uptake in Australia and contribute to reducing our emissions. I commend the bill to the Senate.