4629.0.55.001 - Discussion Paper: Environmental taxes in Australia - Experimental new statistics, 2000-2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/12/2012  First Issue
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Contents >> Australian estimates and analysis >> Type of environmental taxes included in estimates


Australia has a federated taxation system so it is necessary to cover both Commonwealth taxes and state taxes.

Table 5.1 describes different environmental taxes within Australia. Excise on petroleum for heavy vehicles and import duties on luxury cars are Commonwealth taxes while the remaining taxes are state taxes. More information on the differences in taxes between states and territories can be found in the NSW Treasury publication (NSW Treasury, 2011).

The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, the Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Large-scale Generation Shortfall Charge) Act 2000, the Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Small-scale Technology Shortfall Charge) Act 2010, and the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 define the requirements of the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target and Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. The scheme requires purchasers of electricity to buy a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar or hydro power. The purchases of certificates are typically made by electricity retailers and are surrendered by the retailer by the end of the year. The surrendering of the certificates is considered a tax on production within the Australian System of National Accounts (ASNA). A specific sub-chapter in this paper describes the development of this environmental economic instrument. Statistics on Renewable Energy Certificates are under development.

A couple of environmental taxes have not been quantified in this paper as they cannot be separately identified in existing data such as the fringe benefit tax on cars or the noise levy on airports. They have not been estimated in this discussion paper.

In this discussion paper the tax revenues have been reallocated to the first instance payers of the tax for the purpose of monitoring environmental taxes by industry and households. Through that methodology, tax credits have been considered based on the amount of tax credits given and fuel prices.

5.1 Enviromental taxes

Name of tax Design

Energy taxes

Excise on crude oil, LPG, gas and petroleum products Excise is levied on a variety of petroleum products, including gasoline (petrol), diesel, aviation fuels, kerosene, heating and fuel oil, and crude oil and condensate. Excise is also levied on non-petroleum based fuels, including ethanol and biodiesel fuels (includes the Product Stewardship for Oil Program).
Import duty on Ozone Protection and synthetic GHG Levies on import activities under a controlled substances license are payable each quarter according to the quantity and ozone depleting potential of e.g. HCFCs imported.
Renewable Energy Certificates A financial instrument to promote renewable energy production. The liability to surrender RECs is with respect to wholesale acquisitions of electricity.

Transport taxes

Luxury car tax (LCT) Designed to maintain price relativities. It ensured that the price of luxury cars fell by approximately the same amount as the price of cars just under the LCT threshold following the removal of sales tax and the introduction of GST.
Passenger vehicles duty (import) Between 5-10 % of customs value (Original Country Purchase price (which may be subject to depreciation allowance) or rated on the Australian as landed value).
Stamp duty on motor vehicles Registration taxes vary significantly across states. All states and territories (except Victoria) have a fixed fee component and a component that increases with some measure of vehicle size, measured either as weight or number of cylinders.
Motor Vehicle Registration Duty Payable on the application to register a motor vehicle or the application to change the name of the registered owner. The duty is based on the value of the vehicle. This is distinct from a motor vehicle registration fee (described below).
Motor Vehicle Registration Fee A flat fee paid before a vehicle is allowed to be driven on public roads.
Motor Vehicle Transfer Fee A flat fee imposed when ownership of a used motor vehicle is transferred.
Motor Vehicle Weight / Engine Capacity Tax Levied on the owners of motor vehicles and is based on the weight and/or engine capacity of the vehicle, and is typically levied at the time the vehicle is registered or registration is renewed.

Not separately identifiable and therefore not included in the statistics

The Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) on motor vehicles Calculates the total benefit of running the car and then calculates the portion of this benefit attributable to private use. Each calculation also deducts the value of any employee contributions to the vehicle.
Statutory corporations levy Statutory corporations are created by Acts of state or federal parliaments to ensure profitability, and in theory, independence of decision making from the state or national government. There is currently relevant for a levy on electricity generated from fossil fuel and natural gas (in the gaseous state).
Toll road levies Implemented within areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Aircraft Noise Levy The Aircraft Noise Levy Collection Act 1995 intends to reduce the impact of (jet) aircraft noise and compensate persons for the impact of aircraft noise.

New taxes to be included within the estimates of environmental taxes

Carbon Pricing Mechanism Implemented 1 July 2012, pricing the amount of carbon pollution to the atmosphere. Liable entities must acquire and surrender one carbon unit for every tonne of carbon emissions they produce, or pay a shortfall charge.

Source: ATO 2012, NSW government the Treasury 2011, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Clean Energy Regulator

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