Page 1048 - Week 03 - Thursday, 26 February 2009

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guide, an A rating under the scheme. This means that those vehicles pay no duty on their first registration, resulting in a saving of over $1,000 in duty on an A-rated vehicle valued at around $34,000. Other vehicles with an above-average environmental performance also attract a reduced rate of duty.

Duty rates on vehicles with average environmental performance or no rating under the green vehicle guide have not changed under the scheme. However, vehicles with a below-average environmental performance pay a higher duty rate. This is consistent with the philosophy that actually underpins the scheme.

The green vehicle duty scheme is about encouraging people to consider low-emission vehicles when choosing a new vehicle by rewarding them with a reduction in the amount of duty payable based on the environmental performance of the vehicle. The scheme takes into account the environmental performance of vehicles without focusing solely on their fuel type. This approach means that the scheme is receptive to new vehicle technologies that may arise in the future.

To date, the green vehicle duty scheme has been successful in encouraging Canberrans to adopt greener motoring alternatives. There are over 500 green vehicles on our roads that have received a reduction in duty since the scheme began on 3 September 2008. This means that there are over 500 vehicles on Canberra’s roads now that are better for the environment.

The green vehicle duty scheme is a practical and innovative scheme encouraging people to consider environmental impacts when they choose a new vehicle. It is an important step towards reducing the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions and its climate change impact. For the reasons I have outlined, the government will not be supporting Mr Smyth’s motion to disallow the instrument, and we thank the Green members for their support for this position.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.42), in reply: The logic behind what the Greens and the Labor Party are saying is that it seems to be that we want to be seen to be doing something for the environment rather than doing what is right for the environment. The problem with the scheme as proposed, and the problem with using the commonwealth’s green vehicle guide, is that it simply runs on fuel consumption. There is so much more to getting it right when we use vehicles.

Indeed, the Toyota Prius was mentioned. Yes, the Toyota Prius does have a lower consumption of fuel, but what are the inputs into the construction, maintenance and the ongoing use of a Prius? Anyone in this place who votes against this today clearly does not understand the notion of whole-of-life costs and the impact, therefore, on the environment. Unless you take into account the inputs in energy and material that go into the making of the Prius, as well as replacing the batteries and the whole-of-life costs, you do not understand what you are talking about.

Mr Speaker, this is flawed policy. It is a policy that, while it had some potentially positive features, fails a number of tests of what should be good policy. It imposes unreasonable taxes on different groups in our community. It is based on a very narrow definition of environmental benefit. It does not take into account the whole-of-life

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