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Industry body supports tariff cuts to make new cars cheaper

By Barry Park, 08 Jan 2018 News

2018 honda civic type r import2w

Peak body representing car importers adds its weight to a call to carve up to $2000 from the price of new cars to up the safety game

AUSTRALIA’S car industry lobby group has come out in favour of a proposal to cut vehicle import tariffs and the luxury car tax in a bid to encourage car owners to step into safer rides.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said today the proposed tariff reduction, a proposal suggested by the Australian Automobile Association with the support of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce this week would also help motorists reduce fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions.

“Abolishing the new vehicle tariff would pass on thousands of dollars in price cuts at the showroom, which would make more vehicles with advanced safety features such as autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance more affordable for the average consumer,” FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said.

“The flow-on effect of this would also benefit our environment because new vehicles produce fewer emissions and CO2.”

The Australian reported today that the proposed tariff cuts would carve up to $2000 from the price of some of Australia’s best-selling models such as the Toyota Corolla, the Mazda 3 and the Hyundai i30.

The national road toll saw more than 60 deaths over the Christmas-New Year holiday period, while more than 1200 Australians lost their lives to the end of November – the most current statistics provided by the Federal Government’s Australian Road Deaths Database.

The AAA – which represents motoring groups including the RACV, RACQ and NRMA – said more than 1300 lives could be saved on the nation’s roads over the next 20 years just by reducing the average age of vehicles on  our roads – which currently stands at 9.8 years – by a single year, a move the lower tariff would encourage.

AAA chief executive Michael Bradley said an internal report, compiled using data in part provided by the Monash University Accident Research Centre, highlighted the benefits of removing Commonwealth tariffs and taxes that were originally imposed to protect Australia’s car manufacturing industry.

It found the combined impact of the taxes and tariffs would add almost $5 billion to the price of new cars in Australia over the next four years.

Joyce told ABC Radio that the idea of reducing the cost of new cars to encourage buyers to jump behind the wheel of safer models was an “idea of merit”.

“It requires the discussion of cabinet and discussions of the expenditure review committee, but it’s something I obviously think shows merit,” he said.

Bradley also called for the Government to increase investment in land transport infrastructure and guarantee that at least half of revenue raised by fuel excise – which is tipped into general revenue – would be earmarked for infrastructure in future years.

“Australians need a transparent link between excise and infrastructure investment,’’ he said.

“The nation needs to make significant investment in road networks to reduce congestion and improve productivity for the future.’’