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Unfair Charges For Electric Vehicle Owners In Victoria Under Scrutiny

Victorian drivers who own electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have grappled with “an unjust tax scheme”.

It has sparked outrage from the Greens, who argue that the scheme has been problematic since its inception.

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In 2021, the Victorian government introduced the groundbreaking zero and low-emission vehicle charge.

However, the scheme has come under heavy criticism, with more than 30 complaints filed with the Victorian Ombudsman, Deborah Glass.

Ombudsman Glass released an investigative report on Wednesday, revealing that the Department of Transport and Planning applied a one-size-fits-all approach to the scheme, failing to exercise discretion when necessary. 

“While this report focuses on the actions of the Department of Transport and Planning, there are broader lessons for the public sector about the dangers of making policy on the run (or not making it at all), and the importance of exercising discretion,” Ms Glass said.

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Despite paying fuel excise, intended to offset the electric vehicle tax, the driver received a bill of hundreds of dollars under the zero and low emission vehicle charge.

“It is also wrong to charge penalties not provided for in legislation, and the money collected under this ‘penalty’ should be repaid.”

Many complaints centred on drivers who believed their charges were excessive, while others faced penalties for late submission of odometer declarations. 

Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle owners were required to provide proof of their mileage for each registration period.

In some cases, drivers who submitted their odometer declarations late had their kilometres estimated based on a statewide average, leading to charges that exceeded their actual mileage.

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