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Stalling feebates avoids ‘disaster’

VIA boss hopes postponement of ‘ill-conceived’ scheme will at least allow for proper consultation and implementation.
Posted on 22 September, 2021
Stalling feebates avoids ‘disaster’

The Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (VIA) has welcomed the decision to delay the introduction of the clean car discount scheme, even though it says the merits of the feebate system remain questionable.

David Vinsen, chief executive, says it is “sensible” that the government has decided to postpone the policy’s start date by three months to April 1.

He adds this will allow officials and the industry to better prepare for its implementation as the original plan to introduce the feebate scheme in January risked having many negative consequences. 

“This decision will give us more time to develop the policy properly with proper consultation,” he told Autofile Online.

“It also allows more time to process all the vehicles coming in and that have been delayed because of Covid, and more time to properly inform the industry and the public in order to get the maximum effects from such a scheme.

“Had the government proceeded with the timetable for implementation in January, I believe it would have been a disaster.”

It was revealed during the first reading of the Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill in parliament on September 21 that the start date of the clean car discount had been pushed back. 

Vinsen, pictured, says the original decision to introduce the measures from January 1, 2022, was “purely political” and it had left transport officials scrambling to put together a viable scheme of penalties and discounts for newly registered cars.

“The whole thing was rushed from the start. We have always said the timeframe was insufficient for industry, and the government appears to have now come to the same realisation that it wasn’t going to work in such a short space of time.

“If they had gone ahead with a January 1 start date, it would have delivered us a negative trifecta of an ill-conceived policy that was poorly planned and poorly implemented.

“At least now we will only have an ill-conceived policy that will have better preparation and planning and will be properly implemented, regardless of its merits.”

He adds politicians need to use the extra time before the scheme kicks in to make sure people understand why it has created the feebate system and how it will work.

“At some stage reality has to catch up with the government. They can’t be ideologically driven all the time and hopefully now they have realised more time is needed to think about the scheme and plan it.”

In an email alert to members about the delay, VIA says it will ensure all vehicles currently awaiting compliance will be able to be processed in a timely manner, reducing pressure on compliance shops and inspection agencies.

“VIA wishes also to retract the advice sent out in a recent alert insofar as it relates to registering fee-attracting vehicles before January 1,” it adds.

It had recommended dealers prioritise their compliance needs to ensure any vehicles set to attract a penalty under the clean car discount were complied by the end of the year.