1 February 2023

The weight is over: government flags move to emissions-based registration system

| Claire Fenwicke
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Shane Rattenbury and Andrew Barr in an electric car

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury releasing the Territory’s Zero Emissions Vehicle strategy. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

The Territory will begin its transition away from the weight-based vehicle registration system towards an emissions-based system within three months.

The ACT Government has announced new and used Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs), whose two-year free registrations finish on 25 May, will transition to the lowest fee category.

While the remainder of the light vehicle fleet will transition from the weight-based system to the emissions-based system on 1 July 2024.

Transport makes up more than 60 per cent of the ACT’s emissions; however, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the move was also about people’s back pockets.

“The changes are designed to minimise cost-of-living pressures – with 96 per cent of all vehicles paying the same or less as part of the transition when the g overnment ends the current two-year free registration for Zero Emissions Vehicles,” he said.

“These new initiatives are designed to ensure we have an appropriate vehicle registration system for the future. They will see lower fees for lower-emission vehicles, including for lower-emitting petrol and diesel vehicles.”

The ACT Government said this scheme would enable Canberrans to access lower fees for lower emissions across any motor type.

However, it’s expected 96 per cent of Canberrans will either pay the same or less registration than they do currently.

The registration fee range will stay the same – from $329 to $599 under current costs – but there will be six categories instead of four.

For those vehicles whose registration costs rise, the increase will be between $35 to $50.

Registration costs are also subject to indexation each year.

From 1 July 2024, an owner of an all-electric Hyundai Kona will go from paying $599 in registration to $329, while those with hybrid Toyota Camrys will drop from $599 to $508 in fees.

Ford Ranger utes and Kia Rios will pay the same, while owners of older vehicles which tend to have higher emissions – such as older Holden Commodore, Subaru Liberty and Ford Fiesta models – will see their registration cost go up.

READ ALSO Bus depots to power up in $26 million project to support electric fleet

The initiative also includes 12 months of registration discounts for new and used plug‐in electric hybrid (PHEVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) from 1 July.

Eligible PHEVs will receive a 40 per cent discount, while eligible HEVs will have a 20 per cent reduction.

The stamp duty waiver for passenger vehicles will be extended to include second-hand PHEVs and HEVs – with tailpipe emissions of less than 130 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre – for transfers of those vehicles from the same date.

There will be an increase in the stamp duty for higher-emission vehicles (Category C and D) from July 2024 to offset these changes.

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Shane Rattenbury said as the government moved away from free registration for electric vehicles, the registration system needed to reflect their “environmental benefits”.

“Under existing arrangements, electric vehicles often pay a higher registration fee because of their heavier weight,” he said.

“These changes will ensure that the lowest emission vehicles will pay the lowest registration fees.

“These changes, along with our other policies and changes in the vehicle market, continue our efforts to make electric vehicles a more affordable option for more Canberrans.”

READ ALSO All aboard! First permanent electric bus rolls into Canberra (and many more are on the way)

Concessions for motor vehicle registration will also be expanded later this year to include ACT Service Access card holders and Australian Low Income Health Care card holders.

Those eligible will receive a 100 per cent concession on motor vehicle registration from 1 July onwards.

It’s expected the first stage of these transitions – including the changes to registration fees, stamp duty and concessions – will save Canberra motorists $6.6 million over four years.

It’s also another step towards the ACT Government’s goal of a zero-emissions fleet by 2035.

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Just bought a 4.5l twin turbo diesel landcruiser. I’ll pay more sure, but a least I won’t be a neutered soy boy with his EV killing kids in Africa.

Whilst i appreciate the initiative to reduce emissions this move supports policy opposed to practicality and in essence is biased towards benefitting a selection of Canberrans.
There is currently not enough diversity in EV products for all Canberrans to transition to this mode of transport. There is a limited second hand market for those who need a cheaper entry point and there are virtually no commercial products available to support trades or adventure lifestyles.
The weight based system considers the vehicles impact on our roads infrastructure and contributes to its maintenance. EVs are heavy by design but will receive a concession on registration which funds our road maintenance.
Who covers this shortfall? The Canberrans who have no opportunity to transition to EV?
I do not think we should be implementing changes that affect all motorist when all motorist are not in a position to support the policy direction.
Also, what planning has been done to support our local motor service industry? EVs require much less maintenance than ICE vehicles, have we analysed the economic impacts of this initiative? Will we see a jobs transition pathway?

Garry Johnson11:20 am 06 Feb 23

Well said. Where are the Liberal party in oppisition to this. ?

As easily predicted, this change, with over 12 months notice, is getting the anti-EV, you will ruin my weekend, I’ll never give up my bogan ute, people suitably frothing at the mouth. I so enjoy them getting their blood pressure up over a small change which will benefit the majority of Canberrans with reduced pollution from emissions and some encouragement for people to make the transition.

My next car will be an EV. The biggest one I can find. It will be powered from my roof, so no fuel costs and no more fuel excess. This giveaway just sweetens the deal further.

Capital Retro7:31 am 03 Feb 23

Make sure you factor in the true cost of home solar like periodic inspections, new inverter every few year, leaking roof, replacement of hail damaged panels etc. Only the people who got in early with 30 years fixed .47c buyback are coming out in front.

Capital Retro,
Had mine for over a decade.
Five yearly inspection is the only maintenance I’ve had to pay for. Still going strong, no new inverter, no leaking roof, no damage, just thousands of dollars saved and paid back to me.

Capital Retro4:57 pm 05 Feb 23

Thousands of taxpayer subsidised dollars, you mean.

It’s OK, Grandma Edith on the old age pension down the street can fork out for an EV

GrumpyGrandpa2:48 pm 02 Feb 23

As someone with a large, rather old 6 cylinder, 4 litre ICE car, I’m expecting that my Rego will increase.
I ask is that fair?

1. I don’t do a lot of kilometres and as such, my contributions to our emission level would be lower than that of many who currently own lower-emission vehicles, but drive further.

2. If I was to go full-on EV and upgrade my “old clunker”, I wonder what the carbon cost would be to dig up the lithium, manufacture the batteries and car, plus ship it from another part of the world?
I expect that the emission cost would be significant and based on my current low mileage, I might not live long enough to “pay back” the “new car construction emissions” from the future the emission savings I’d be making by driving the new EV.

If Mr Barr was fair dinkum, he wouldn’t be changing the weight-based registration “tax”, he’d retain it, to help fund road repairs and if he wanted to do something more progressive, he’d adopt a road usage style of tax similar to what NSW & Vic are doing with EVs.

Exactly. It’s a ripoff.
Grandpa & Grandma that drives their one owner 1970’s V8 Falcon, Kingswood or Valiant to the local shops once a week is far less damaging to the environment than someone who buys a new EV with the environmental cost associated with building it and shipping it half way around the planet.

And yet they will be the ones stung the hardest.

Emissions are roughly tied to fuel consumption so with current fuel prices and the taxes and excises associated with a litre of fuel everyone is already paying more for a less efficient vehicle.

I have said it before.
If the ACT Government wants people in low emission vehicles they should be hitting the new vehicle buyer who chooses a high emission vehicle. The new vehicle buyers are the only ones that can drive the change.

So the cheapest EV is around $50,000 which means there is no point slugging the buyer of a new $30,000 vehicle.

If someone chooses a new or near new (under 5 years old) vehicle that’s over $50,000 and not a low emissions one slug them an extra registration and/or stamp duty charge. if an extra $20-$30,000 on there new “hight pollution” vehicle doesn’t encourage them so be it. That extra tax can go towards creating more environmental initiatives. Solar electricity on Government houses for instance.

If someone tries to dodge the extra fee buy buying their vehicle interstate and keeping it registered interstate but garaging in the ACT there are ways to catch them.

Scott Kendell9:58 am 02 Feb 23

More virtue signalling from out of touch ACT politicians.
Wonder why everyone forgets ICE driver’s already pay around 50% of their fuel costs as tax (user pays?) Where does the money go? Most is federal, not sure about ACT but other states have their own add on taxes as well. Each state gets some of this federal pot forp funding of roads, most goes to consolidated revenue. If we all bought an EV tomorrow that would be a huge hole to fill. Quite apart from the many other issues this would cause, most of us would also be rendered destitute trying to pay for an EV.

@Scott Kendell
“Wonder why everyone forgets ICE driver’s already pay around 50% of their fuel costs as tax (user pays?)”
Nobody has forgotten this, Scott Kendell, because there’s nothing to forget – you are just spreading cow manure.
https://www.aaa.asn.au/fuel-excise-explained/ … if you are able to get fuel at around 92 cents a litre then I’m sure the rest of us would like to be let in on your secret.

An absolute joke by a couple of clowns.
We live in a 40 apartment complex in Kingston. We can only have 2 electric chargers in our complex until the ACT upgrades the power lines & electricity delivery to our complex.

these two need to drop the smiles. it doesn’t help their cause. as unit owners, our body corporate is already considering adding electric chargers to our complex, resulting in increased body corporate fees. then having older ICE cars means that our rego costs could increase. so we are potentially being hit in the pocket three times.

That is a problem with all new infrastructure. It takes time to upgrade. Unfortunately Australia has been slow on the uptake. However, eventually you will not be able to purchase an ICE.
To address your problem I would suggest that apartment owners with an EV charge at a public charging station.

Btw 40 apartment complex with two chargers … I think thats good for at least another 4 years before you’ll need to install more.

Capital Retro5:29 pm 02 Feb 23

How can “new” infrastructure need upgrading?

And you are dreaming if you think ICE cars will go out of production. It’s more likely that one of the largest EV manufacturers as well as many of the smaller ones will collapse first.

I am sure apartment owners with EVs will be grateful for your advice to leave their EVs overnight at a public charging station and then walk to their distant unit and back again next morning in sub-zero Canberra winters.

A Nonny Mouse7:31 pm 02 Feb 23

I wonder about the advice you have had. It is probably true that you can’t add much on top of your building’s peak load. However, outside the few hours of peak demand in the evening, most buildings have a much lower load and consequently spare capacity for EV charging overnight and through the day. The key to charging in parking spaces allocated to every unit is to have load management to share the spare capacity across each charging outlet. It is important to realise that charging at home does not need to be fast. Slow trickle charging is plenty where you live. Fast charging is for long highway trips.
The two chargers you have may be sufficient for the first few vehicles but should be regarded as an interim and temporary solution unless it is absolutely demonstrated that you can’t do better.

Capital you are dreaming if you think that EV’s are a fad that one day you will be proved right that ICE is still the future.

If you were to leave the shores of Australia you would see how far behind we are on the transition to electric. I’m sure if you were to go to Europe there would be no one who shared your view the an EV company would collapse or that ICE has a future beyond niche markets.

It may surprise you that almost every mainstream car model in Europe has electric variants already so electric is no longer the realm of dedicated EV car makers like Tesla.

Capital Retro1:55 pm 06 Feb 23

ICE is the status quo JC and the capital investment that accompanies that will ensure it stays that way.

I don’t think anyone making EVs has made a profit yet. In fact, like the renewable electricity industry, they can’t exist without massive taxpayer funded subsidies.

Surely the government should be rewarding drivers of older cars not further penalising them. According to reports, building a new car equals 3 years of fuel equivalent emissions.

A real and honest emissions based registration system should take into account the total emissions, not just the the driving emissions.

This could potentially look like yet another tax on the poor by ACT Labor Greens dressed up as environmental policy.

If you mean by “total emissions” that is produced in the lifespan of the vehicle I think you’ll find that EV’s win that argument.

I’m not talking EV’s just petrol, I agree with the low registration for EV’s.

New petrol cars getting an advantage over old.

The story says 96% of people will pay the same or less. Why is everyone upset about this?

And retirees are better off taking the bus anyway.

Upset for two reasons – it unfairly limits choice on what vehicle people can drive and while there is a 96% claim, there is no hard evidence to prove this.

Capital Retro8:10 am 02 Feb 23

You have no idea what retirees are better off with. When are RiotAct moderators going to disallow these ageist slurs?

It’s a bit hard to take government claims and percentages seriously when they’ve been so wrong so often.

Remember Andrew Bar finally admitting stamp duty was taxing 30+% higher than expected or the “More buses, more often” , which turned out to mean huge swathes of the city got less buses less often. The other classic claims often mentioned here such as
“6 in 10 Canberrans will live near a Rapid stop” or “health services will improve next financial year”.

Many people are better off taking the bus, cycling, or even walking in some cases. You don’t need to be retired. I rode my bike to work, except for wet days when I caught the bus to and from home which included walking four kms.
Now retired many years, I still catch the bus when going to Woden or Civic, and occasionally cycle. I don’t have the daily commute now. I am considering an electric bike, but not an electric car yet, as it’s not suitable for many parts of Australia. It can apparently take up to 20 hours to charge a small to medium battery on a power point; that is if there is a power point. Last year I was away from Canberra for over four months, much of that is remote Australia. It would have been stressful and impractical to have an electric car. A hybrid car which could do say 50kms, but then switches to petrol would work. Use electricity for driving about the city (if I couldn’t use a bus or cycle; they would be my first choices) and petrol for country driving.

“On a 10A powerpoint, approximate charging times from empty to full would be:
very small battery PHEV (about 14kWh): 7 hours
small to medium battery (about 40kWh): 20 hours
typical large battery (about 75kWh): 37 hours.”


A Nonny Mouse7:36 pm 02 Feb 23

Governments and businesses provide price signals all the time. Tobacco is taxed more heavily than fresh vegetables. You can still choose tobacco but the higher price might make you think twice about the choice.

Who are you to tell retirees what they should or should not do? And who is Andrew Barr to tell me that I have to get into debt to buy a new car?

Because there are certain people who seem to get pleasure from frothing about anything our progressive government does.

Where does it say people’s choices will be limited? Yes, there is a slight disincentive to keeping an old, high emission vehicle, but does that limit choice?

Capital Retro1:56 pm 06 Feb 23

“Many people are better off taking the bus, cycling, or even walking in some cases.”

Many people can’t!

So poorer people driving older cars will be penalised? Can’t remember this promise before the election. And why are we still paying stamp duty 12 years into the great rates hike experiment?

HiddenDragon6:42 pm 01 Feb 23

“…owners of older vehicles which tend to have higher emissions – such as older Holden Commodore, Subaru Liberty and Ford Fiesta models – will see their registration cost go up.”

Another two fingered salute to its supposed base from a fake Labor government – subsidies for people who can afford to buy more expensive vehicles and higher taxes for those who can’t.

Don’t worry, in all their wisdom, they will push those who can least afford it to get a new car loan to save the planet. The absurdity of this having any impact whatsoever on anything other than people’s pockets is perverse.

Stephen Saunders4:49 pm 01 Feb 23

Virtue-signalling on steroids. Out to 2033, the main “Environmentally Threatening Process” for Canberra is not vehicle emissions, but the extra 100,000 people that Barr wants.

Capital Retro8:07 am 02 Feb 23

And there is no “climate crisis” but the cost of living crisis is very real and what is the government doing about that? Nothing.

OK then you think Canberra should now institute laws that stop people from having children. It’s not som much what “Barr wants”, more to do with what people want, ie children.
If thats that’s an “Environmentally Threatening Process” I would ask a question … how many children do you have, how many brothers or sisters or cousins.

Capital Retro11:09 am 02 Feb 23

Maybe you should ask Barr’s children what they want because they will be the ones paying for all these virtue signally fantasies.

A Nonny Mouse7:44 pm 02 Feb 23

It doesn’t help your credibility if you deny the facts of climate science. So many diverse lines of highly scrutinised evidence from many fields of research across many research institutes worldwide put the fundamentals of climate change beyond any kind of reasonable doubt. Pull you head out of the sand and accept reality. Denial is not helpful to anyone.

Capital Retro7:37 am 03 Feb 23

“Pull my head out of the sand”?

How about you put your head out the window and check the wind chill temperature of about 4 degrees.

It’s February by the way. Hope you have a good heater in your EV.

will the new scheme take into account how many kms vehicle owners are running up. And how much pollution that involves. Such an approach would be way fairer than making hybrids or EVs cheaper to own. It is kms driven for polluting vehicles that is fairest and most effective on pollution. And, not difficult to tax.

As a worker in Canberra who due to my job does have to travel large distances each day due to my job, I already pay more than my way in the form of excises and taxes on the fuel I must buy each week. Not every worker in Canberra has the ability to work from home or drive 10-50kms a day to and from the office.

A Nonny Mouse7:41 pm 02 Feb 23

Fuel excise does this nicely. If you drive an ICE vehicle more OR you have a vehicle that burns more fossil fuel per km, you create more pollution and pay more excise. If you have a less efficient vehicle AND you drive a long way, you pollute even more and pay even more excise.
However, it is not open to the ACT government to increase the fuel excise rate.

Heywood Jablowme3:11 pm 01 Feb 23

Until EV are charged solely charged solar on wind produced electricity, then they are still high contributors of emissions.. not sure where or how these clowns think electricity to fill these EVs is produced…

Given the ACT’s electricity is a combination of only solar, wind and hydro power, I think the know exactly where the electricity is coming from and just how green it is. We are almost always net zero emissions with electricity here (the only time we aren’t is if we need to tap into the national power supply, which isn’t very often).

Capital Retro11:08 pm 01 Feb 23

You really believe that? The “national power supply” is the grid and coal and gas fired electricity is still supplying over 50% of it. Electrons have the same properties no matter where the are generated.

A Nonny Mouse7:48 pm 02 Feb 23

Every kWh of electricity that I use to charge my car in the ACT is matched by additional renewable generation contracted to the ACT. Across the National Electricity Market, we are sitting typically on 50% renewable by day and 20% by night. I make a point of charging by day.
If I charge outside the ACT at a DC fast charger during a long trip away, it is still renewable because every charging provider has similar arrangement to the ACT for power purchase agreements to match the electricity they dispense with additional renewable generation.

Why can’t we consider the full impact on the environment, rather than this tunnel-vision focus on carbon dioxide? Almost as if their main objective here isn’t really the environment…

Can you believe some of the dinosaur comments being posted.
“how much is the new rego rate on the new EV buses” … is that actually a question ??
“EV should pay more for damage to roads” … lets just consider how many EV’s are currently on the road compared to ICE … and how about the heavy SUV’s that everyone seems to drive nowadays … therefore I surmise that most of the maintenance atm is due to ICE vehicles.
“so when everyone is driving EV cars what then” … again, what point is being made here ??
“I think this initiative, which will reward the Tesla driving millionaire and penalise us plebs” .. not all EV’s are expensive .. just as much as not all ICE vehicles are expensive. I would say the ACT Gov will be penalising those rich enough to buy an expensive BMW SUV.

Capital Retro3:30 pm 01 Feb 23

The weight of the battery powered bus is important because while it is hard to extract this info from the internet I am reliably informed it is about 18 tonnes. What is that going to do to our roads? Accordingly, the rego fee should be extra high but it won’t be.

How about you tell it how it is instead of calling me a dinosaur?

@capital retro
So the point you are making is that we should keep our diesel buses, yea ?

Capital Retro,
What is your rationale for charging registration based on weight?

Rego doesn’t currently come close to paying for a vehicle’s impact on the cost of road provision and maintenance so it’s already a bit meaningless.

Far better would be taxes on kms driven for different classes of vehicles to replace fuel excise. Which is almost certainly on the cards in the near future.

Capital Retro6:52 pm 01 Feb 23

Did I mention diesel buses? No.

I asked a simple question that none of you warmists will answer because it doesn’t suit the “EVs will save the world ” narrative.

If by “warmists” you mean “climate activist”, I’m not. I am very suspicious about the science. However, that doesn’t equate to taking no action cleaning up our act. If there are alternatives to what we currently do why not engage in that technology.

Capital Retro1:57 pm 01 Feb 23

How much is the new rego rate on the new EV buses?

How much is the rego on the new diesel buses?

If CRs question was genuine he only has to pick up the phone to Access Canberra to find out.

Capital Retro11:53 am 02 Feb 23

CR doesn’t have the time to wait on the phone for Access Canberra’s international call centre to answer the phone. I thought you would have this info at your super-intellegent finger tips chewy, so you inform ignorant people like me the “science is settled” facts.

Actually, all you are conveying is that we are not supposed to know what they weigh.

Capital Retro,
Once again showing his comments are complete BS.

The answer to your question is no more than one short phone call away, yet instead you’ve dribbled here multiple times longer than it would take to receive the simple answer.

All whilst ignoring other questions that have been asked of him to defend his position.

As is typically the case, you don’t care about the facts because you only want to push some weird ignorant narrative.

Minister Rattenbury concedes that ev’s are generally heavier. Therefore, they contribute more to damage of roads. Therefore should pay more toward road maintenance.

Like they care – they just do whatever they want, and don’t listen to anyone other than their own echo-chamber.
Of course they have to change it because EVs are too heavy and would be penalised under the existing arrangements.
The world will be saved by Canberra’s “drop-in-the-ocean” contribution. I feel better already … just not financially …

Capital Retro3:31 pm 01 Feb 23

With the oceans rising, that “drop” is even more insignificant.

Actually what they are listening to is what car manufacturers are saying .. ie all have stated that they will not be producing ICE vehicles after a set date which is within the next decade.
Now of course they could just ignore reality or attempt to set Canberrans up for the future. Canberra is the cheapest place to purchase an EV in Australia due to government incentives such as excluding stamp duty and reduced registration costs.

So when everyone is driving EV cars what then? The roads maintain themselves?

Seems more like a punishment when you have China “a developing nation” launching rockets(which risk falling over Australia) into space to build their space station, yet they have no emission targets.

So when everyone is driving EV cars what then?

“Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the move was also about people’s back pockets”. Yes, Barr and the Rat’s hand in YOUR back pocket. A real push for people to buy expensive electric vehicles or else. Local council always has your interests at heart….hahaha

I think this initiative, which will reward the Tesla driving millionaire and penalise us plebs, demonstrates how out of touch inner-City Andrew and Shane are.

Another tax cut for the top end of town from labour greens

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