Budget 2012 for the car owner

There is no getting away from it; the Gillard government is very unpopular at the moment. The Labor party has a primary vote of 27 precent and things are simply not getting any better. With all of this playing on the minds of the Labor front bench, they have conceived what is called the “battlers budget”. While commentators up and down the country analyse the implications in general terms we have taken a closer look from an auto perspective.

The changes

In truth there was not a considerable level of change announced for the vehicle owners of Australia.

•  Infrastructure – The most notable addition here is the $3.5bn to duplicate the Pacific Highway. There is also funding for a freight hub at Moorebank. Overall it doesn’t seem to have been an infrastructure heavy budget.

•  $5000 small business vehicle write off – From July 2012 all businesses with a turnover of less than $2 million will be allowed to write off the first $5000 for the cost of a new vehicle.

•  Innovation centre and $25 million car industry grant – $30 million has been pumped into a manufacturing technology innovation centre. In addition $25 million has been set aside for the local car industry to compete with less expensive imports.

Left unchanged

As hotly discussed as they may have been, the following items did not see significant change this year.

  Diesel rebate – Despite pressure from the Greens, this will stay. While the Greens expressed their disappointment on the matter, Wayne Swan and co. remained tight lipped on the future of the scheme.

  Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) The FBT changes announced in 2011 will continue. FBT rates will remain on course for their flattening to 20% in April 2014.
Luxury Car Tax – This area did not see any change and the threshold will remain at $57,466.

The reaction

While the budget may be considered good for small and medium income families it cannot be considered particularly intricate. Perhaps clarity of purpose was put ahead of deep or meaningful change. In any event the budget did not significantly deliver in terms of incentive for the road using public. There is very little built in to encourage spending in an industry which could do with something to offset currency woes.


Final thoughts

The car industry is changing. Electric vehicles are coming on stream and litres per 100km is now a real sales point. Also, consumers now have a real choice when it comes to fuel type. While it’s not the governments job to decide what car you buy, more could have been done to encourage the current trends. It’s unfortunate but no particular theme seemed to frame the automotive articles in the budget. The reality is that this year’s budget did not show a real vision for the future of Australia’s roads or road users.

Do you think this was a good budget for vehicle owners?

Do you think more could have been done?

Please comment below.

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