High Court rules Victoria’s EV tax is ‘invalid’


The High Court of Victoria has sided with two electric vehicle (EV) owners to strike down the Victorian government’s Zero and Low Emission Vehicle (ZLEV) Distance-based Charge Act 2021. 

The 4-3 decision has been closely watched across Australia for its implications on how EVs are taxed here and what exactly can be collected by governments for their use of roads. It was reported that other Australian states were considering similar taxes. 

Hopes of such moves now appear moot with the High Court deeming the tax an “excise,” an inland tax on goods, that only the Commonwealth government has the power to apply, according to section 90 of the Constitution.

In 2021, Victoria attempted to levy a 2.8c per kilometre tax on electric vehicles, with EV owners Christopher Vanderstock and Kathleen Davies taking the government to court over the tax that same year. The High Court’s full decision is available here.

Australia is still lagging the world in its uptake of EVs, but Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, recently said EVs now represent almost 9% of new car sales, up from just 2% in May 2022.

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