Conservation Council puts heat on Government for car-free day, gas windback

Ian Bushnell 2 November 2019 38

The Conservation Council wants roads money redirected to active transport such as cycling and public transport. Photo: File.

A car-free day, an Active Travel Commissioner and making new public housing properties all-electric are on the Budget wishlist for the Conservation Council ACT Region.

In its 2020 Budget submission, the council says the Government should acknowledge the Legislative Assembly’s declaration of a state of climate emergency and allocate all funding accordingly, embedding the declaration’s intent into all decisions.

It calls for the Government to commit to a separate annual Budget Paper on the funding of the Climate Change Strategy, and annual budget reporting on its delivery.

“The Conservation council identifies that the policies and programs which reduce the ACT’s emissions, and create a more livable, equitable and community-focused city with a secure climate future, are the highest priority in the 2020/21 Budget process,” it says.

As part of a needed shift to other forms of transport, the council wants the Government to fund the ACT’s first car-free day in town centres on World Car-Free Day, Tuesday, 22 September 2020, as well as create the ACT’s first Active Travel Commissioner to oversee initiatives and legislated targets for active travel and public transport.

The Government’s Climate Change Strategy 2019-25, released in September, said it would consider car-free days.

The council also wants the Government to hand over more road and public space to cycling and walking, to redirect roads funding to active and public transport infrastructure, and for all new Transport Canberra buses, including the 84 budgeted for purchase in 2019-20, to be zero-emissions electric.

With Canberra’s climate warming, the council says energy-efficient and low-emission housing should be a priority, especially moving from gas to all-electric appliances.

It wants the Government to upgrade existing public housing with efficient electric appliances, ensure all newly constructed public housing properties are all-electric and investigate the costs and benefits of decommissioning the gas network.

The Government should also help low-income households shift from gas to high-efficiency electrical appliances.

The council says the Government should mount awareness campaigns to highlight the financial benefits of climate-wise and energy-efficient housing and already-available programs.

It also wants a new energy assessment tool that adequately gauges the year-round thermal performance of buildings in the Canberra climate.

Taking into account previous tree losses, the council acknowledges last year’s commitment to plant 17,000 trees over four years, but says this will not be enough to cover the 3000 trees lost every year, and is calling for more money to not only ensure replacement but expansion of the tree canopy.

What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
38 Responses to Conservation Council puts heat on Government for car-free day, gas windback
BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 11:59 am 11 Nov 19

This is about much more than emissions.

Long before light rail gets to stage three the majority of cars on the road will be electric and emissions free.

I’ve been an environmentalist and sustainability adherent since 1970 but i revile at the new green authoritarianism with religious overtones that seeks to control what people think by controlling what they do.

BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 11:49 am 11 Nov 19

Quite literally I live in a town centre. If i want to drive to somewhere outside the town centre I’ll be trapped.

judy judy 8:00 am 09 Nov 19

What is the Conservation Council and how is it different from the ACT Government?

BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 11:48 pm 07 Nov 19

I’ll choose when i drive and don’t drive.

Adele Craven Adele Craven 10:27 am 07 Nov 19

A question was put to Minister Rattenbury at the Tuggeranong Community Council meeting on Tuesday about legislating for more energy efficient houses. Rather than just all-electric, the Conservation Council could support better efficiency and longer term benefits and savings

Henry Kivimaki Henry Kivimaki 8:23 pm 04 Nov 19

Loe and behold...another "National lunatic day" . Please...these guys are bent on destroying every ounce of normality !

bikhet bikhet 9:36 am 04 Nov 19

On top of all the other proposals, they want an Active Transport Commissioner. There’s another 100K (minimum) wasted. I know that’s small beer, but it all adds up.

Penny Gordon Penny Gordon 11:43 pm 03 Nov 19

Just curious, how would "car free days" in Town Centres be enforced?

And how would people get to work, without having to spend hours on public transport and walk long distances (especially those who are not able to walk long distances)?

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:03 am 04 Nov 19

    Just curious, as I am guessing your comment includes you. When you bought your house or apartment, why did you buy so far out and so far away from work? That's fine, but many people here appear to have made that choice and are now complaining about the inconveniences that arise from living so far out. Likely many made the choice to live further out, because they didn't want to live in an apartment. Fine; that's a choice, but so what is then the use of complaining about the inconveniences that can arise from living further out, when that's been chosen.

    Penny Gordon Penny Gordon 6:46 am 04 Nov 19

    Julie Macklin when I purchased my house, the public transport system was actually decent, and if there had been car free days then it would not have been an issue.

    Each time the network has been "updated", the public transport options in my area have worsened.

    Incidentally, it's not like I live "that far out" from my's only about 10 kms, so I certainly DID factor that into my decision making. Back then the bus was 30 minutes each way, including a reasonable walk. Now to go to the same place it is over an hour each way, including walking over a kilometre each way. 20+ years ago I would have been able to manage that, sadly now I can't.

    Penny Gordon Penny Gordon 7:17 am 05 Nov 19

    William Noble not sure if that was meant for me or Julie who was the one who was critical of people buying " so far out" and then complaining about the inconveniences.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:27 pm 05 Nov 19

    William Noble wrote, "They bought near work but work moved to a different town centre". That's one thing I think is very bad; when the work place moves. If this is government departments this shouldn't be allowed to happen, just for the sake of say Tuggeranong (or elsewhere) needs more Government offices. People should have more certainty that when they buy a home near(ish) to their work, their work won't get up and move elsewhere. Same with the buses; they shouldn't just be moved as they have been, as some people might have bought there because of the bus. That's the advantage of a tram; it's harder to take away once built. The anti tram people use the inflexibility of the tram as an argument of why it's not as good as the more flexible bus routes. They have this back to front, as the recent changes to the bus routes have proved, and many of their arguments are actually making arguments in favour of the more inflexible tram.

    As for the other reasons, of course most people are aware of them. It can be tricky to juggle things. However in many places in the world children grow up in apartments. My first home was a flat over shops in a downmarket area. There was nothing wrong with this for me as a small child. There was some small communal area out the back, but not as good communal area as many apartments have these days. My parents would take me to the beach, etc, away from this. This was just the first home; it doesn’t need to be the forever home, and it wasn’t.

    Another reason often mentioned, is ‘needing’ to drive the children across Canberra to school (ignoring the local school). Many of these things are choices.

    On a personal comment, I reduced what I wanted for my first home so as to live within cycling distance (it ended up being 8 kms) to work. I expected I would buy a shabby flat that needed work, but a cheap house unexpectedly came on the market and I snapped that up. No plumbing for hot water; only a hot water unit over the kitchen sink and an instant hot water over the bath. No hot water over the hand basin or in the laundry. Old, thin, second-hand carpet, etc. While my contemporaries bought new houses with mod-cons on the edge of Canberra for about the same price, I bought a shabby, smaller (99sq metre) house on a smaller block, but with only an 8km cycle ride to work. (I bought it from a family of five.) All jobs I applied for had to be within walking, cycling or on a bus route, or I was unlikely to apply. My house was also on a bus route (now removed with the bus changes) with a nearby bus stop and only a 2 km walk to work the other end, so that was convenient to work too. This was my choice; others make their choices too. That's fine. I have no problem with that for those that choose it. But it's then no good complaining about the lack of facilities, the distances, the travel times, etc. They were part of the choice. Fair enough though to complain if the bus service is taken away, or the work place is moved. They weren't part of the choices.

    Marko Lehikoinen Marko Lehikoinen 10:46 am 08 Nov 19

    Julie Macklin Living far out is done because it is within peoples' means, not because they just chose to live there. It'd be nice if we could all live within 5 minutes of work but that creates a huge population density. Where will you fit them all in? Juist because you like living as a sardine, doesn't mean everyone has to.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:09 am 08 Nov 19

    Marko Lehikoinen Often still choice, as many people aren't willing to drop what standards they 'expect' in a home. Apartments are available at the same price (or even less) in inner areas as houses in outer areas, but some people aren't willing to accept anything less than a house. Fair enough, it's personal choice, and I am not criticising this choice. But what I do object to is then these people complaining about distances, etc from living in outer areas. Their choice. My choice was not to want to live so far out and my choice was to lower what I wanted in a house/apartment so that I could live within cycling distance to work and on a bus route. Hardly five minutes though, as it took me 25 minutes to cycle to work. Also my local bus went within two kms of my work place, so on wet days I could catch the bus.

May Mac May Mac 11:01 pm 03 Nov 19

I shudder when I see real estate listings with those inefficient little electric wall heaters, I remember many a winter sat huddled next to one of those. Shouldn't they also be included in any upgrade program?

I remember when they laid the gas pipelines and we were encouraged to upgrade to the wonderful new economical and eco friendly source of energy.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:46 pm 03 Nov 19

    My house didn't come with any heating, which was good, as it would have been a waste of money, as the house is designed well and has insulation. The rare time I need to heat, a small, portable, instant heater is enough; sometimes even on low heat. So you shouldn't judge a real estate listing with small heaters as being bad, because they might be enough for some houses. In fact, some houses don't need any heating. Not all houses are, or need to be ice boxes, that require massive, excessive heating to be comfortable.

    May Mac May Mac 10:44 am 04 Nov 19

    Julie, I know houses in Canberra can be built to require minimal heating. I've been in display houses and Sustainable House Day homes and the effect of proper insulation and orientation is remarkable. (As an aside, what happened to new land developments being required to have as great a proportion of blocks as possible taking advantage of solar orientation?) I was talking about old houses like two we have lived in and I remember how the electricity bills went up in winter despite providing very little warmth and comfort.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 10:14 pm 03 Nov 19

Gas is the only fuel that’s worth cooking with though…

    BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 11:43 pm 07 Nov 19

    Induction is just as good as gas and just as fast if not a little faster. Also much much safer.

astro2 astro2 7:38 pm 03 Nov 19

I don’t see why some people can get so hysterical about one car-free day in a year. Crikey some precious little snowflakes out there. These types of articles always draw them out, with their self righteous indignation. Try and relax a little, go for a walk in a local park, play scrabble with the kids at home, chat with your neighbours over a cuppa. You don’t have to drive 24/7, 365 days of the year. Get active, get healthy.

Steven Campbell Steven Campbell 6:48 pm 03 Nov 19

This is beyond lame, anyone who is onboard with banning motor vehicle should be forced to carry a load of deliveries to the shops on their mass produced composite metal bicycles. And help me pick up my kids from the local school while they’re at it too..

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:45 pm 03 Nov 19

“….and create a more livable, equitable and community-focused city…….”

Based on past performance, the “equitable” bit presumably means more of the usual games of selectively and arbitrarily framed subsidies, the extra costs of which will fall on many who have little left to spare.

Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 6:02 pm 03 Nov 19


    Maatt Brouhaha Maatt Brouhaha 8:21 am 04 Nov 19

    WhAt AbOuT tRaDiEs AnD tHeIr ToOLs???!!!!1!one

Mac John Mac John 5:44 pm 03 Nov 19

Charlie Sgroi Charlie Sgroi 4:40 pm 03 Nov 19

Please wake up canberra

And change government

Jim Jim Jim Jim 3:27 pm 03 Nov 19

😂 have you seen the state of many EXISTING public housing properties!? Some were built in 1954!!! Maybe reviewing these properties and demolishing and rebuilding them first before talking about upgrading anything else.

Graeme Jackson Graeme Jackson 2:29 pm 03 Nov 19

Ooh, I know, lets have a brain cell free day! Oh right, I guess thats already been had by the Conserve Council when they came up with their Budget wishlist.

Corey Karl Corey Karl 1:58 pm 03 Nov 19

How do businesses receive goods, and services if no cars are allowed ??

Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 12:18 pm 03 Nov 19

I'll bet the majority of the Conservation Council executive live in central Canberra. If we have a car free day, they should be forced to cycle to Gungahlin or South Tuggeranong, drop two kids off at two different schools, catch a bus to the local town centre, catch another one to Civic and clock on at 8:30 in the morning.

Then repeat the whole thing in reverse that afternoon.

It's funny how many of them mention in their profiles how much they enjoy going to the coast or bushwalking. I'll bet they take a car there....

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 3:00 pm 03 Nov 19

    Agree Stephen. I rented and worked in inner Canberra for many years and could easily do without the car most days, even with a child.

    Now I live in Casey, work in Woden and my child goes to school in Lyneham and works at Maccas in Dickson. I drive a minimum of 60kms a day but usually more as I'm not going to force a 14yo to spend an hour on public transport on her own after dark.

    And don't get me started on weekend timetables...

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 6:12 pm 03 Nov 19

    Fiona Dickson I completely agree, but Canberra is not built to enable people to go car free. There's a lot of infrastructure that needs to go in and jobs created outside the major hubs before it's anything more than a pipe dream.

    I think they would do better to have no-cost public transport and see how that changes people's behaviour.

    Another point is if they actually say that car-free means no cars are allowed in the major town centres, the rate of absenteeism on those days will skyrocket.

    Scott Turner Scott Turner 8:05 pm 03 Nov 19

    It sounds like the public transport system needs to be upgraded. ⬆️🚌🚈 Free public transport would be a good start. Any income lost from fares would be offset by reduced spending on fare collection infrastructure such as Ticket Vending Machines (which also top up MyWay cards), MyWay card readers, ticket inspectors (transit cops), and staffing numbers at the Transport Canberra call centre.

    Taking the car to the coast or to a bushwalking area occurs less often so most car trips are still avoided. Longer car trips are also more efficient than several short trips.

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 8:38 pm 03 Nov 19

    Scott Turner All true. The big saving getting people into public transport is road upkeep. If each bus takes 40 cars off the road, the impact and maintenance cost is reduced. Take enough cars off and you'd be paying for the public transport system, but it means that public transport has to be convenient, fast, reliable and free or people won't use it.

    Raffy Sgroi Raffy Sgroi 11:27 pm 03 Nov 19

    Stephen Esdaile yep! Also let’s keep in mind Canberra weather!

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site