The ACT Greens allege the Canberra Liberals are “wilfully misrepresenting” the ACT Government’s climate change initiatives after Opposition Leader Alistair Coe labelled the government’s climate change strategy “arrogant” and “ideological”.
The ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-2025, which was released on Monday afternoon, recommended car-free days once a year, as well car-free areas, shared zones and traffic-calmed streets as soon as 2021 to help reach the ACT Government reach its zero net emissions target by 2045.
As part of the strategy, the government said it will provide “incentives” for Canberrans to consider active travel or public transport to move around our city, with transport currently accounting for more than 60 per cent of ACT emissions.
Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe said it is “arrogant” of the ACT Government to ask Canberrans to not use their cars.
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“Once again, the ACT Government is demonstrating how out of touch they are by arrogantly telling Canberrans how they should be living their lives,” Mr Coe told Region Media.
“The Government switched off 750 bus stops, they slashed the number of services and then they have the hide to tell people that shouldn’t be in their cars and they should be riding in busses.
“If transportation is one of the target areas for emissions, surely the best way to tackle those emissions is by having a good quality bus service that delivers for all Canberrans. If we are serious about climate change and serious about emissions from transportation, we have to start with a viable transport system.”
Mr Coe argued that the vast majority of Canberrans want to play their part against climate change, so it is arrogant to impose the Government’s plan on them.
“Everybody is already conscious on how they use their car,” he said. “They are certainly conscious on how they use their car when they fill it up with petrol, when they pay $17.50 for parking, when they are caught in a traffic jam turning on to Northbourne Avenue or when they pay their rego.”
In response, Greens leader and Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said the Liberals are “wilfully misrepresenting” the Government’s climate change initiatives.
“Car-free days are an opportunity for our community to experience a small-scale festival, without cars – akin to what happens during the Multicultural Festival or Enlighten – which both create car-free zones,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“At every turn – in every motion or debate on climate change – all we’ve heard from the Canberra Liberals is ridicule and scepticism rather than actual climate change policy.”
Mr Rattenbury said it is clear the Canberra Liberals have no plan to tackle climate change and would “rather sit back and watch the planet burn rather than show political leadership”.
“Asked more than once what the Canberra Liberals have in store for climate action in Canberra, Alistair Coe simply could not answer the question,” he said. “The Canberra Liberals can’t be trusted to deliver the climate action Canberra needs.
“They are really putting the ‘con’ in conservative.”