Shane Rattenbury calls on federal government to reduce electric bike tariff
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Shane Rattenbury calls on federal government to reduce electric bike tariff

ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury has called on the federal government to remove a tariff imposed on electric bikes, arguing it would reduce their uptake in cities like Canberra.

In a recent letter to Assistant Home Affairs Minister Angus Taylor, the ACT Climate Change Minister said the five per cent tariff would mean the costs of e-bikes would increase.

Cycling groups say electric bikes are a gateway for casual riders.

Cycling groups say electric bikes are a gateway for casual riders.

Mr Rattenbury said the tariff would also impact on the number of people wanting to take up cycling, with e-bike use on the rise.

"While I understand the intent of the tariff, and the desire to support local manufacturing, I am concerned that this tariff will introduce another obstacle to the increased take up of cycling and active travel," he said.

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Shane Rattenbury has written to the federal government calling for the tariff on e-bikes to be removed.

Shane Rattenbury has written to the federal government calling for the tariff on e-bikes to be removed.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

"I expect the tariff to result in an increase in the cost of e-bikes, as the vast majority of them are currently imported, and many from countries impacted by the tariff."

Cycling groups have said e-bikes - bikes with motors attached - are used as a gateway for people wanting to take up cycling, with the motor often used on hill climbs.

As well as e-bikes, the tariff also applies to electric scooters and motorcycles.

Mr Rattenbury said an increased number of bikes out on Canberra roads was a key part of the government's target of net zero greenhouse gases by 2050.

"The ACT government is currently progressing a range of policy initiatives designed to encourage the uptake of e-bikes," he said.

"It would be very disappointing if the five per cent tariff created a disincentive to the uptake of e-bikes."

Pedal Power ACT chief executive Ian Ross said there has been a large uptake in the number of e-bike users in Canberra in recent years.

He said the electric bikes were a good alternative for commuters who want to cycle to work, but live far away from the office.

"E-bikes have made a good entry into the ACT, and they're the next wave that will get people into cycling," Mr Ross said.

"It allows you to tackle distances or hills that you might not otherwise tackle, and for people who are not really cyclists, it makes cycling to work a genuine possibility."

The chief executive said while numbers of e-bikes would always be small compared to traditional bikes, the two could co-exist.

"Their use is growing, and I'm seeing more and more on the streets."

A Home Affairs department spokeswoman said e-bike importers have been able to access a duty concession as there were no Australian manufacturers.

ā€‹"Bicycles with an electric motor imported into Australia are currently subject to the general rate of customs duty of five per cent," the spokesman said.

"E-bikes imported under any of Australia's free trade agreements continue to be eligible for a 'free' rate of customs duty."

Andrew Brown is a journalist at the Sunday Canberra Times. Andrew has worked at the Canberra Times since 2016.

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