Even though Australia has the highest take-up rate for rooftop solar in the world, we have the lowest rate of electric vehicle (EV) purchases. Our motorists have looked at the inconvenience of recharging, the driving distances involved and the exorbitant cost (cheap EVs are around $45,000 but more typically, it’s a $60-65,000 purchase) and shied away.
In its last State Budget, the NSW Government announced a series of subsidies for EV purchases (for vehicles registered after 1 September 2021). The first 25,000 EVs purchased up to a value of $68,750 will receive a $3000 rebate.
Every EV purchased up to $78,000 will be exempt from stamp duty, a concession worth up to $2540. For this first tranche of EV purchasers, the total subsidy will be up to $5540.
So how is the scheme progressing in its first five months? Not very well.
In answer to a question on the Parliamentary Notice Paper (No. 8087, 7 February 2022) it was revealed that:
- Up to 1 February 2022, just 1589 applications had been received for the $3000 rebate, with 1368 paid. At this rate, it will take over 7 years to pay out the 25,000 available rebates.
- Just 2062 applications for the stamp duty exemption had been received, with 1911 paid. The scheme is having very little impact on car purchasing decisions (with approximately 300,000 new vehicles purchased in NSW each year).
- From the first five months of its operation, the inequity of the scheme is clear. This was always going to be a cross-subsidy from the poorer parts of NSW to the wealthier suburbs. It’s reverse Robin Hood.
- Twelve postcode areas have 20 or more recipients of the stamp duty exemption: Rouse Hill/Kellyville (42), St Leonards (36), Norwest (33), Castle Hill (31), Lane Cove (30), East Gosford (26), Cherrybrook (25), Turramurra (24), Michelago (24), Lindfield (22), Newington (20) and Box Hill (20) – each of them higher-income areas.
- Ten postcode areas have 15 or more recipients of the $3000 rebate: Rouse Hill/Kellyville (28), Lane Cove (23), East Gosford (21), Norwest (20), St Leonards (19), Castle Hill (19), Cherrybrook (17), North Bondi (15), Lindfield (15) and Box Hill (15).
- Many country and regional centres do not have a single recipient of either subsidy, such as Bathurst, Moree and Grafton. Yet the National Party has supported the scheme, selling out its constituents for the benefit of Sydney’s North Shore.
- Parts of Western Sydney have also missed out entirely, including Rooty Hill and Macquarie Fields. The lowest income parts of the Hunter Valley, such as Muswellbrook and Kurri Kurri, have also drawn a blank. Not a single subsidy.
This shows how delusional NSW Treasurer Matt Kean has become in thinking he can save the planet with schemes like this. It has an embarrassingly low-take up rate and in the money allocated, it’s a clear subsidy for the wealthy – people who already have enough money to buy a $78,000 new car without support from taxpayers in the Hunter Valley and Western Sydney.
When the scheme was debated in NSW Parliament last year, Labor and the Greens backed it while One Nation was opposed. Under Chris Minns, apparently, Labor has no problem with Macquarie Fields subsidising Lindfield, and Kurri Kurri’s families transferring part of their income to Lane Cove.
Adding to the waste and inequity, governments around Australia (including NSW) are spending billions on EV charging stations. With the low EV take-up rate in regional and country areas, they are shaping as another White Elephant expenditure.