Page 3262 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 19 August 2008

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vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions and the air pollution rating, a measure of noxious pollutants that reduce our air quality.

Mr Stanhope brags that the ACT is the first jurisdiction in Australia to introduce this duty scheme, but, in the international context, we are far behind. Australia, land of the open road, is lagging in adopting incentives to increase low-emission vehicle purchasing. The UK, Germany and even the US implemented these incentive schemes years ago. The UK has a vehicle registration scheme based on the level of grams of carbon dioxide emitted by a vehicle per kilometre. Even President Bush, whose country produces the most greenhouse gases and who has stated many times that he safeguards his country’s right to use 25 per cent of the world’s resources and does not want to see any compromise in the American lifestyle, delivered a revised federal tax incentive program for hybrid cars in August 2005.

Of course, at the federal level, we need to mention the requirement under the fringe benefits tax scheme for a vehicle to travel a certain number of kilometres before receiving a tax credit. The ACT government needs to lobby strongly to abolish that requirement.

I will refer to the issue of low-income people being disadvantaged by this. For a start, I have been a low-income earner. I have never bought a new car in my life and do not expect to. This tax does not apply to them. The other thing we will see is that it is going to be cheaper for poor people to buy high-emission cars because they will be cheaper. It is already happening. There are new cars, for people who can afford them, at the lower end of the market that will fit into the category, and I will list some: Mitsubishi Colt, Hyundai Getz, Toyota Yaris, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, Toyota Aurion, Hyundai Sonata and Mitsubishi Outlander. So let us demolish that argument. If we really do want to make a difference to low-income people, we will work on the registration for low-emission cars, because that is what will really help them.

This scheme will have its greatest effect on people’s purchasing choices of brand new cars, and this is the point at which consumers have the most effect on the industry. This is where their demand counts. If this green vehicle scheme can affect whether people purchase cars which are not very efficient and can make them decide instead to purchase ones with fewer emissions then that is a great outcome.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (5.34), in reply: The Duties Amendment Bill 2008 (No 2) amends the Duties Act 1999. The amendment gives effect to the government’s green vehicles duty scheme, which I am very proud to say is the first of its kind in Australia. The green vehicles duty scheme is action 7 of this government’s “weathering the change” climate change action plan and is consistent with our integrated transport framework, in which we have stated our commitment to encourage people to drive environmentally friendly vehicles.

This government wants to encourage Canberrans to purchase the best environmentally performing vehicle that meets their needs. We know that the people of the ACT are committed to doing all they can to address climate change. This government is

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