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National automotive reforms needed: VACC

Tax writeoff: The VACC’s recommendations for the next federal government include the elimination of the luxury car tax, which it argues has become redundant since the cessation of local vehicle manufacturing.

VACC hands over recommendations, of which automotive industry roadmap is key

11 Mar 2019

THE Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) has called on the federal government to commit to a number of policy reforms to strengthen the local automotive industry that is on the cusp of huge change.
Key recommendations include a map of Australia’s automotive future, the elimination of luxury car tax (LCT), access to service and repair information for independent repairers, a mandated code of conduct for insurance and repair, addressing the automotive skills shortages, and implementing an end-of-life vehicle program.
With electric and autonomous vehicles increasing in popularity, the VACC believes the federal government needs to lay out plan to tackle changes to infrastructure, skill requirement and revenue streams that will come with new technologies.
According to the VACC, “the blueprint will allow automotive business owners to develop, plan and invest with confidence” and “will help the industry thrive as it transitions into a new technological landscape”.
As for LCT, the VACC is recommending the government abolish the tariff, or raise the minimum threshold to $125,000 – up from the current $66,331 or $75,526 for fuel-efficient vehicles.
The VACC says: “The luxury car tax was introduced in 2000 to encourage buyers to purchase locally manufactured vehicles instead of imported prestige vehicles.
“The end of passenger vehicle manufacturing in Australian now makes this tax redundant.”
The VACC is also arguing for car manufacturers to share technical information and repair data with independent workshops, allowing customers more choice in aftersales care.
Meanwhile, the VACC is also calling for a nationally adopted and mandated Motor Vehicle Insurance and Repair Industry Code of Conduct, managed by the Australia Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
“This would improve its efficacy, reduce threat of disputes, and stabilise a fragile smash repair industry,” the VACC manifesto said.
“Consumers would also benefit, by including their right to receive transparent fair and reasonable repair estimates, insurance assessment calculations and cast settlements.”
The shortage of trained and skilled automotive workers is also an area of concern for the VACC, which the organisation believes can be improved by introducing incentives for employers to hire and retain apprentices, appointing an industry-led advisory board to educational institutes, and changing Australia’s migration program “to improve its accessibility and responsiveness to better meet skill and labour needs in the automotive industry”.
Finally, the VACC is calling on the next federal government to introduce an end-of-life vehicle scheme that would see unwanted cars disposed of in a manner that is not harmful to the environment or economy.
VACC chief executive officer Geoff Gwilym said: “Such a blueprint is well overdue and must be developed in consultation with industry to ensure it has a practical and powerful impact.
“It is critical the next federal government makes its intentions clear and details its support and policy direction for the industry.”

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