NA­TION A tax to drive us mad Pro­posed emis­sions penalty will cost car buy­ers big time

Townsville Bulletin - - NATION - SHARRI MARKSON

A “CAR­BON tax” on cars that could push up the price of Aus­tralia’s most pop­u­lar ve­hi­cles by more than $ 5000 has been pro­posed by the Turn­bull Govern­ment.

News Corp Aus­tralia has ob­tained the Govern­ment’s pro­posal out­lin­ing emis­sions penal­ties to be slapped on car dis­trib­u­tors who fail to meet new fuel ef­fi­ciency tar­gets.

Un­der the pro­posal, from 2022 new cars will be slapped with a sur­charge of $ 100 for ev­ery gram of car­bon per km they emit over a tar­get fig­ure and fail to off­set. Mod­el­ling by the Aus­tralian Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion shows the changes would add $ 3925 to the price of a Toy­ota As­cent.

Car dis­trib­u­tors were shocked to re­ceive the pro­posed model from the De­part­ment of In­fra­struc­ture and Re­gional Devel­op­ment’s Ve­hi­cle Emis­sions Team on Mon­day evening, de­scrib­ing it as more “ex­treme” than any mea­sures dis­cussed dur­ing 18 months of con­sul­ta­tion.

“This would be one of the most ex­treme ef­fi­ciency stan­dards in the world and will lead to car prices go­ing up and mo­torists hav­ing fewer cars to choose from,” Aus­tralian Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Bradley said.

Peak car in­dus­try body the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries’ act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony McDon­ald said that it would add “thou­sands of dol­lars in emis­sions penal­ties” to the price of a car.

A spokesman for the De­part­ment of In­fra­struc­ture and Re­gional Devel­op­ment said the Govern­ment had not made a de­ci­sion on the pro­posal: “The De­part­ment of In­fra­struc­ture and Re­gional Devel­op­ment re­leased the pro­posed model for con­sul­ta­tion only.”

Un­der the pro­posed model, car com­pa­nies need to meet a fleet- wide av­er­age tar­get equiv­a­lent to 105g CO2/ km, through a credit and debit off­set scheme.

“The stan­dard will reg­u­late fuel ef­fi­ciency for ve­hi­cles in terms of tailpipe CO2 emis­sions,” the de­part­ment’s pro- posal states. “The pro­posed de­sign of the fuel ef­fi­ciency stan­dard is based on achiev­ing a new light ve­hi­cle fleet av­er­age equiv­a­lent to Tar­get A ( 105g CO2/ km on the cur­rent test cy­cle) in 2025.”

Car com­pa­nies that fail to meet this tar­get over a three­year- pe­riod would pay $ 100 for ev­ery ex­tra gram of car­bon diox­ide per kilo­me­tre.

“Dis­trib­u­tors would be li­able for a penalty of $ 100 for each g/ km debit not off­set within the next three calen- dar years,” the de­part­men­tal doc­u­ment states.

Fi­nan­cial penal­ties will also ap­ply for fail­ing to re­port.

It is a cost that will be passed on to con­sumers, says the FCAI, which rep­re­sents the ma­jor car com­pa­nies.

From 2020, all car dis­trib­u­tors will have to re­port car sales and ef­fi­ciency lev­els in a sin­gle yearly re­port.

The new emis­sions tar­get would then start in 2022, where 65 per cent of sales will have to com­ply.

The de­part­ment model states that the sales of fuel ef­fi­cient cars can be “off­set” against those with higher emis­sions.

“If the dis­trib­u­tor’s deb­its ex­ceed their cred­its at the end of the cal­en­dar year, they will need to off­set this debit ( by ac­cru­ing cred­its) within the next three cal­en­dar years,” the doc­u­ment states.

Mr Bradley said any scheme that “dra­mat­i­cally in­creases car prices” will see older, dirt­ier and less safe cars stay on the road for longer.

While 105g/ km is the tar­get for the en­tire fleet of cars, each man­u­fac­turer may have a dif­fer­ent tar­get based on the mass of their ve­hi­cles.

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