Victoria's auto industry body the VACC has given a nod of approval to the Federal Government's continued support for the LPG conversion rebate scheme. It has also encouraged small business owners to take advantage of the new tax breaks on new vehicle purchases announced in the Federal Budget.
Treasurer Wayne Swan announced a reduction in the LPG rebate from $2000 to $1750 after June 30, but the VACC believes the change won't harm demand for LPG conversions. New cars with factory-fitted LPG systems still get the full $2000 rebate.
"We consider this to be good news. It means the conversion rebate, while reduced, will continue. It means $2000 is still available right now and the incentive will continue for motorists to convert vehicles to LPG," VACC Executive Director David Purchase said.
"Given that Australia is in the grip of what the Treasurer described as ?the worst of economic times?, he may have been tempted to target LPG conversions, reduce the rebate further or remove it completely.
"But the fact that he did not is a huge positive and an indicator that the Government values LPG as an alternative fuel."
The support for LPG should pay dividends to the local conversion industry and consumers alike. Businesses specialising in the conversion process have enjoyed a booming trade thanks to soaring petrol prices, while motorists stand to reap long-term savings at the bowser.
"Australia is virtually self sufficient in LPG with huge national reserves," Mr Purchase said.
"There is an estimated 3 million tones of LPG produced by this country annually with supply not forecast to outstrip demand until at least 2030.
"Therefore, together with the Government?s commitment to the conversion rebate, LPG continues to remains a viable and attractive alternative option for those who wish to convert to a cheaper alternative fuel."
The VACC also urged Australian small business owners to take advantage of the Government's extension of vehicle tax breaks for small business.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for Small Business owners to purchase important assets. The Government has provided an incentive which should not be passed up," said Mr Purchase.
"For example, a Small Business owner can order and take delivery of a new, more fuel-efficient car or van in June 2009 at a cost of $30,000 and be eligible to claim a bonus tax deduction of $15,000 in his 2008-09 tax return."
The tax break is available for all businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million, and allows business owners to claim 50 percent of the cost of eligible assets as a tax deduction, providing the asset cost more than $1000. New vehicles are eligible for the investment allowance.
The eligibility period has also been extended this month, meaning vehicles bought between 13 December 2008 and 31 December 2009 can have half their purchase value deducted.