Power Equipment Australasia

Electric Vehicles: It is a combination of direct subsidies and fuel efficiency standards that have driven EV growth in countries like Norway where EVs accounted for 79 per cent of new passenger car registrations in 2022. In Australia, fuel efficiency standards and updated vehicle emissions standards have been pushed back by the lobbying from the car industry, and the fact that Australian refined petrol has too much sulphur. World standard unleaded petrol contains a maximum 10 parts per million of sulphur rather than the 50ppm for premium unleaded and 150ppm for regular unleaded allowed in Australia. That in turn means car manufacturers cannot ship us their cleanest, most fuel-efficient models. If you look up a VIN decoder for any European car you will see that one of the codes refers to “low-grade fuel”. Good cars but we are getting dud variants. This situation was addressed with $2bn in subsidies to the two remaining Australian Refineries and they are on target to deliver 10ppm fuel in 2024. States have a mixed mess of incentives for EVs, and Victoria also has a special road tax, based on the Klm driven. They negated this with a subsidy, which is likely to be dropped. Federally, the incentives are even better, but not available to everyone. As simply as I can put it, the ATO gives an exemption for Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) for new cars that staff are allowed to drive home. i.e. a Fringe Benefit. Next, we need to look at a Novated Lease. That is an option when I want to buy a car for personal use, but I get my employer to get all the GST deductions, as the company “own” the car, pay the FBT because they “lend” me my car and then take the net monthly payments out of my salary – pre-tax. (If I leave the company, I take over the payments and it’s transferred to me – automatically). Sounds like smoke and mirrors? Yep, that’s tax planning for you. These Novated Lease companies like RemServ won’t deal with small businesses and a Novated Lease is not available to the selfemployed. They only deal with large businesses and Government departments, both State and Federal (including the ATO staff). Has it dawned on you yet dear reader? Put all this together, and you will find that with the new Government rule you can get a super deal on an EV, if you are an employee of the ATO (who designed the rule). Fun Fact: Canberra has the greatest penetration of EVs, reaching 12 per cent of overall sales in some quarters, more than double that of any other state. Gary Fooks is chair of the Blue-Sky Alliance. Gary has been working on small engine emissions standards since 2005 and was announced as the Environment Minister’s Clean Air Champion in 2015. OPINION JULY - AUGUST 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 17

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