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Question: Electric Vehicles

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:52): Supplementary: what will be the cost of administering the EV (electric vehicle) road user tax over that $1 million over the forward estimates of collection of the tax?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (14:52): They are the sort of issue that we are working through at the moment. There is no doubting there will have to be system implementation changes, and this isn't being done in the forward estimates—the next four years—to be generating revenue which is going to be anything more than, as I said, potentially a million dollars. A chunk of that may well be in relation to the system changes. This is about preparing our state for a future where there are electric vehicles and there are no vehicles paying fuel excise at all.

This is about looking to the long term. This is about long-term reform and saying that if we are going to have zero emissions by 2050, and if we are all going to be driving around—or those of you who are still alive—in electric vehicles in 2040 or 2050, whenever it is, then somebody somehow needs to be paying for the maintenance of our roads.

We think, inevitably, and the advice we are getting, as I indicated earlier, is that relatively soon the cost of electric vehicles will be cost competitive to the cost of our current vehicles, given that significant numbers of Australians and South Australians will move to make that particular choice. Whether that's in two years, or five years, or six years—I don't know when that will be. I've seen various estimates.

As I said, we have seen a lot of reports over the last two years at the Board of Treasurers about the preference and what the timescale of that might be, in terms of how the technology might improve and how the costs might reduce. There's no one concluded view in relation to that. It's unlikely to be in the next three or four years, which seems to be the majority view, but it might not be much longer than that before it's cost competitive.

So I think if all of us are actually pledged to a zero emissions future by 2050, all of us need to start thinking beyond the inevitable opportunity which arises to play political games. Perhaps some of us might be prepared to look at whether or not we are prepared to look to long-term sensible reform in relation to these particular issues. As I said, the Leader of the Opposition in another chamber didn't indicate a kneejerk opposition to it. He said that they would need to see the legislation. The Leader of the Opposition here has clearly indicated that he is not going to be supporting it in this particular chamber. He is entitled to put his view—

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Point of order, sir: I have been grievously misrepresented by the Treasurer, who is—

The PRESIDENT: I think the Treasurer may have concluded his answer. Has the Treasurer concluded his answer?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: I have concluded, Mr President. I got the reaction I needed.

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