Victoria’s EV tax faces High Court challenge

Plaintiffs Kathleen Davies and Christopher Vanderstock (EV tax)
Plaintiffs Kathleen Davies and Christopher Vanderstock (Images: Equity Generation Lawyers)

Two Melbourne-based electric vehicle (EV) drivers have launched a High Court challenge to Victoria’s EV tax, arguing the levy is unconstitutional.

Equity Generation Lawyers represents Christopher Vanderstock and Kathleen Davies in a High Court of Australia action challenging the constitutional validity of the Zero and Low Emission Vehicle Distance-based Charge Act 2021 (Vic) (ZLEV Act). 

Related article: Vic Parliament rallied to reject EV tax Bill

Equity Generation Lawyers is the legal firm that represented eight teenagers in a federal court case that found environment minister Sussan Ley had a duty to protect young people from the climate crisis.

In July this year, the Victorian government introduced a new EV tax that charges electric vehicle drivers between 2 cents and 2.5 cents for every kilometre they drive.

Mr Vanderstock is a nursing manager living with his family in the suburbs of Melbourne. He drives a fully electric plug-in vehicle.

Ms Davies is an engineering consultant also living in the Melbourne suburbs. She and her family drive a hybrid electric vehicle.

From July 1, 2021, the plaintiffs and other Victorian electric vehicle drivers are required by the ZLEV Act to maintain a log of the use of their vehicles and pay an annual charge to the Victorian Government based on the number of kilometres driven in the preceding 12 months.

Related article: Organisations pen letter to SA govt over EV taxes

The plaintiffs argue the State of Victoria lacks the constitutional authority to impose such a charge. The basis of their claim is section 90 of the Commonwealth Constitution, which the plantiffs say reserves the exclusive power to levy such charges for the Commonwealth.

The claim was filed in the Melbourne Registry of the High Court of Australia on September 16, 2021. Ron Merkel QC and Thomas Wood are the plaintiffs’ counsel.

Members of the public can support this legal action here.