Another year, another budget – but this time, the Turnbull Liberal Government is heading into an election year. Let's take a look at what's changed, and what has stayed the same for motorists and car buyers.
First up, the Luxury Car Tax (LCT) and import duties are still alive and kicking. Despite pressure from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) and various car manufacturers – not to mention Senator David Leyonhjelm – the LCT, introduced to protect our now-defunct local car industry, hasn't been chopped.
Complaints about the LCT and five per cent import duties (impacting vehicles built in Europe, Great Britain, Argentina and China) don't just centre around the fact that paying more money is annoying. Industry bodies argue they keep buyers out of newer, safer, cleaner vehicles.
AADA CEO, David Blackhall, said the 2018 Federal Budget was an "opportunity to modernise the taxation regime for new cars".
"Unfortunately, both the passenger vehicle tariff and the luxury car tax remain on the books and will collectively generate almost $1.3 billion in 2018-19, significantly more than previously forecast," Blackhall said.
"The sale of new cars brings significant societal benefits as they are safer, more environmentally friendly and more fuel efficient. Improving road safety, reducing vehicle emissions and bringing down energy costs are all Government priorities and these taxes hinder progress towards these goals."
"Increased taxes on the sale of new cars by various levels of government simply force consumers to pay more and in the process hurt many of the people working in the automotive industry, such as sales staff, finance providers and workshop technicians," he concluded.
While we're talking taxes, the Budget forecasts motorists will pay $12.6 billion in net fuel excise in 2018-19, up from 12.2 billion in 2017-18. Based on forward estimates, the percentage of that figure flowing back into 'land infrastructure' projects will be throttled back over the next three years – from 61 per cent over the 2017-18 financial year, to just 32 per cent in 2021-22.
Missing from the budget was a significant commitment to reducing road trauma, in spite of the AAA's claim it costs the Australian economy $30 billion annually. On Monday, the body called for the Federal Office of Road Safety to be reinstated, but those calls weren't met.
With that said, support for Black Spot removal and Roads to Recovery programs has continued.
Were you tuned in to the budget last night? What did you think?