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Motor Vehicle Standards (Cheaper Transport) Bill 2014
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2013-2014

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOTOR VEHICLE STANDARDS (CHEAPER TRANSPORT) BILL » 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of Senator Christine Milne)

 

 



Motor Vehicle Standards (Cheaper Transport) « Bill » 2014

 

GENERAL OUTLINE: Policy Rationale

 

This « Bill » seeks to improve the fuel efficiency of new cars purchased in Australia to reduce costs for motorists, reduce emissions into our atmosphere, promote strong trade ties, reduce dependence on imported oil and provide future jobs for the automotive parts and services industry.

 

The law will not commence until 2017 once Australia’s automotive manufacturers have wound down their operations and will not impact on domestic employment.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short title

This clause provides for the « Bill » , when enacted, to be cited as the Motor Vehicle Standards (Cheaper Transport) Act 2014 .

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

This clause provides for the Act to commence on the day after it receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Definitions

This clause specifies the definitions that apply to terms encapsulated in the « Bill » .

 

Clause 4 - Vehicle Carbon Emission Standards

This clause sets the legally binding efficiency standards that a manufacturer or importer of vehicles is required to meet as the average across its fleet of passenger or light commercial vehicles if they sell more than 1000 of their vehicles in a year.

 

There are two separate targets: 130g CO 2 / km for 2020 and 95g CO 2 / km for 2023; however, compliance will be required from 2017 when 70% of a seller’s fleet has to meet the 2020 target, increasing by 10% each year until 2020. In 2021, 80% of a seller’s fleet would have to meet the standard of 95g CO 2 / km. These standards are based on the European Union standards, but with a lag of four years for the 2020 target and three years for the 2023 target.



Clauses 5 and 6 - Charges

These clauses apply to a seller of vehicles whose fleet averages above the values set in clause 4. The penalty charge is multiplied by each car sold and worked out on the basis of the amount by which the fleet average is above the standard, starting at less than one gram and increasing up to three grams and beyond. These figures are based on the existing European Union formula found in Article 9 of Regulation (EC) No 443/2009.

 

Clauses 7-12 - Timing and payment of penalties

Clause 7 stipulates that when a charge becomes due for payment is to be set by regulations.

 

Clause 8 also provides for the penalty for late payment to be set by regulations but the level is capped at 1.5% of the outstanding amount and also sets the provisions for judgement charges resulting from a court order.

 

Clause 9 allows the « Clean » « Energy » Regulator to remit late payments once the circumstances provided by regulations are satisfied and allows an appeal against the regulator’s decision to be made at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

 

Clause 10 leaves the manner of payment to be determined by the regulations.

 

Clause 11 explicitly provides jurisdiction for the regulator to represent the Commonwealth in legal proceedings to reclaim outstanding money.

 

Clause 12 allows for overpayments by sellers to be either credited or refunded by the regulator.

 

Clause 13

This clause is intended to provide for the collection and publication of the mean emissions performance of cars sold and the number of cars sold, in line with the « Clean » « Energy » Regulator’s other programs that provide the public with data on « clean » « energy » programs.

 

It will require the manufacturer or importer of vehicles to provide this information in a form and time stipulated by the regulations.

 

Clauses 14 and 15

These clauses allow an authorised officer of the regulator to request further information, accompanied by a statutory declaration to assure its accuracy. If a person fails to comply with these requests, they will have committed a strict liability offence. Similarly, they will have committed an offence if they have provided misleading information to the authorised officer.

Strict liability which has the effect of reversing the proof of fault but this is warranted in these circumstances. The difficulty of the regulator proving intention and the ease of complying with the provision to provide information to the regulator justifies the application of strict liability. Liability can be avoided with a reasonable excuse (subclause 15(2)). Furthermore the penalty only invokes financial consequences, not imprisonment, supporting the application of a strict liability provision.

Clause 16

This clause provides that the actions of an employee or director of a body corporate will be attributed to the body corporate provided the actions were within the scope of their employment duties. If the activities fall outside that scope then an individual may be liable to the criminal charge.

 

 

Clause 17

This clause allows the Finance Minister to collect or receive charges or penalties for late payment through agreements entered into with an eligible party. This power can be delegated by the Minister.

Clause 18

This clause provides for an authority to enter an agreement under this « Bill » or exercise a power under it.

Clause 19

This clause creates a requirement for the Climate Change Authority to conduct a review of the scheme and recommend future mandatory standards beyond 2023. This review must occur in 2021 and be tabled in Parliament upon its completion.

Clause 20

This clause allows the Governor General to issue the relevant regulations under the Act and outlines the subject matter that regulations may deal with. This is not an exhaustive list.

 



 

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Motor Vehicle Standards (Cheaper Transport) « Bill » 2014

 

This « Bill » is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the « Bill » :

The purpose of this « Bill » is to provide minimum fuel efficiency standards on new passenger and light commercial vehicles to save motorists money and reduce emissions.

 

Human Rights Implications:

Subclause 15(1) by virtue of subclause 15(3) is a strict liability offence which has the effect of reversing the burden of proof of fault but is warranted in these circumstances. The difficulty of the regulator proving intention and the ease of complying with the provision to provide information to the regulator justifies the application of strict liability. Liability can be avoided with a reasonable excuse. Furthermore the penalty only invokes financial consequences, not imprisonment, supporting the application of a strict liability provision.

The « Bill » enhances the right to an adequate standard of living because the expected increased upfront costs of higher efficiency vehicles will be paid off over three years because of the savings that accrue from petrol costs. Given that the average new car is used for five years, this « Bill » will enhance the right to an adequate standard of living by freeing up more discretionary spending.

In all other respects, this « Bill » does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

 

Conclusion:

After considering the implications of subclause 15(1), it is concluded that this « Bill is compatible with human rights.