Thursday, 13 July 2017 14:48

The Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) has responded to the federal government’s proposal to put a tax on sales of vehicles based on their emissions footprint.

MTAA says a carbon tax is an extreme measure that would “significantly impact consumers” and “destabilise an industry reeling from unprecedented change”.

The association reminds that Australian customers are already slogged heavily for new vehicle purchases courtesy of stamp duty, sales taxes and “unconscionable” luxury car tax, stating that an additional $5000 tax is testament to how “disconnected policy makers and government are with reality”.

Chief executive officer of the MTAA, Richard Dudley, says the state of change in Australia’s motoring industry does not need such a proposal.

“Over the next decade there will be more disruption, more change and more opportunities in the automotive industry than at any time in our history,” he says.

Mr Dudley says he and the industry would prefer the government to reply to the senate’s enquiry into the state of the whole automotive industry which was finalised over 18 months ago, rather than throw hefty tax proposals into the mix.

“Instead of piecemeal, uncoordinated policy development, MTAA renews its call for the federal government to properly consider and favourably respond to the recommendations of the senate inquiry.”

The MTAA wants the government to take advantage of the association’s comprehensive decade-long member analysis, which it says will show myriad critical issues needing attention, to develop a whole-of-industry policy framework that doesn’t sting consumers yet another tax.

The Australian Automotive Dealer Association says the media surrounding the proposal is somewhat overblown, that this is commonplace activity when developing policies that involve the motor industry.

“It’s a discussion paper and as much as I hate to sound like Donald Trump, it’s fake news,” AADA chief executive officer David Blackhall says. “The government puts out dozens of these every year as a process to establish viewpoints with stakeholders – we look at dozens of these papers every year, it’s completely normal.”

However Blackhall acknowledges that decisions made by government need to be effective and considered.

“We’re in favour of clean green cars, we think any standards that are going to be set need to be realistic, and we’re also of the view that one of the fundamental ways to fix this is that the technology exists, the fuel doesn’t,” he says about fuel standards and the high levels of sulfur in Australian refined fuel.

Blackhall says yesterday’s debates do not help solve the problem and that the emissions issue could be helped by improved fuel quality.

“The fuel we get in Australia is 50 per cent sourced from Australian refineries, and they continue to use high levels of sulfur and that fuel is very difficult to engineer into modern engines and get a good result.
“We’ve told the government consistently they need to look at fuel standards at the same time they look at emissions standards.”

“I think the debate that flared up yesterday is less than helpful. We want to participate in the discussions with Josh Freydenberg and the responsible government ministers.

“We represent retail car dealers who are recipients of OEM products and while we have little leverage on influencing the standards, we do have big equity in making sure consumers get clean modern cars that consumers can afford.”

Source: www.autotalk.com.au, 13 July 2017

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