EV charge ruled out by High Court

The High Court has handed down its long-awaited decision on the legality of Victoria’s zero and low emission road user charge, determining the charge is an excise and therefore unconstitutional when levied by a State Government.

The Victorian government currently charges 2.8 cents for every kilometre travelled by an electric or hydrogen vehicle and 2.3 cents for every kilometre in a plug-in hybrid vehicle. To remain compliant with the charge, Victorian motorists with electric vehicles were required to submit annual photos of their odometer to VicRoads or risk license suspension or cancellation.

Both the New South Wales and Western Australian Governments have stated an intention to implement road user charges in the future similar to that of the Victorian Government.

Roads Australia has consistently noted the shift to ZEVs will require us to review the way we pay for road maintenance and infrastructure. Fuel excise was always intended to fund the construction and maintenance of our road networks. As it declines as a revenue source, we must ensure all governments have sufficient funds available to pay for the efficient, safe and sustainable road infrastructure our communities require.

As part of this, RA has called for all governments to work together on the development of a fair, nationally consistent road user charging model and implementation framework which offers greater certainty around the future funding base for our roads.

Acknowledging that this is a challenging area of change, it will require mature and collaborative engagement between government, industry and the community.

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