Liberals and Greens clash over Government’s ‘arrogant’ car-free day plan

Lachlan Roberts 17 September 2019 105
car-free days

The ACT Government is working toward holding car-free days at least once per year. Photo: File.

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.

“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.”

“The Greens are unapologetically ambitious when it comes to putting our climate first” – Shane Rattenbury. File Photo.

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.”


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21 Responses to Liberals and Greens clash over Government’s ‘arrogant’ car-free day plan
k452 k452 4:48 pm 17 Sep 19

Alistair Coe is just speaking to his conservative base and that means there is no policy for anything. Nilch, zero, none. That is what conservatism is all about. The Canberra Conservatives (they pretend to be Liberal) plan to cut Education, Health & Infrastructure spending to fund their rates freeze should they win government. Also plan to privatise buses and save money by cutting greenhouse initiatives implemented by Labor & Greens. Who would even consider voting for them.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:20 pm 17 Sep 19

    At least half of the electorate as happened 7 years ago.

    k452 k452 8:54 pm 17 Sep 19

    Yes, I remember the 2012 election well, 4th election in a row the Liberals hadn’t won. The party needs a total overhaul I think. Get Alistair’s head out of the Bible and return it to true Liberal values.

    rationalobserver rationalobserver 9:55 am 19 Sep 19

    No policy is better than bad policy, every day of the week.

    BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 10:11 am 21 Sep 19

    I am far from conservative. I want the government to get off it’s lazy backside and tackle the real problem – population – and how to run an economy sustainably.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:08 pm 17 Sep 19

It’s not that long ago that the ACT Government declared war on electric water heaters (not content with the off-peak cycle linked to renewable sources) and pushed people in the direction of gas as an alternative.

Now, as part of their latest plan to save the planet, they want to phase out gas, because they’ve discovered it’s evil – which, of course, couldn’t possibly have been foreseen back when they were pushing people towards it…..

Could we please just have some balance and maturity, and some genuine, practical long-term thinking – not serial enthusiasms, tokenism and gestures which might work for the privileged few, and the “look at me” self-flagellants.

I will know this Government is serious about this stuff when it starts talking in detail about a sustainable population for Canberra.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 6:46 pm 17 Sep 19

How many ACT Labor MLAs have stopped travelling by plane? How many have started eating a vegan diet (most particularly looking at Shane Rattenbury, our Green MLA) – with the livestock industries and meat consumption constituting as much of the carbon problem as car travel? When I see evidence that all the Labor MLAs are catching the bus to work, I’ll take this seriously.

    astro2 astro2 9:36 pm 17 Sep 19

    How is that relevant? Where do any ACT Labor MLAs say you must not travel by plane? If you want to know which MLAs travel to work by bus or bicycle I suggest you write to their offices and ask.

noid noid 7:00 pm 17 Sep 19

Used to catch the bus to work all the time but now I have young kids its just not practical. Doing the drop offs, pick ups and if they get sick and I have to leave work early to pick them up the bus schedule does not work. Also lets keep it real, we are a town of 420000 people who are already making a minimal contribution to GH gases. Who’s ego is fueling these deadlines (one guess) and do we need to be the world leaders which comes at a greater expense due to the development cost etc. Just like the rate increase I doubt any impact studies have they done……….. Another out of touch proposal from an out of touch government who have no idea of the pressures of living on the average income supporting a family and paying a mortgage.

astro2 astro2 9:26 pm 17 Sep 19

Jorge Garcia, the sort of comments that come out of Fakebook really are silly. Where did you ever get the idea that there is no public transport to town centres? Town centres in Canberra are Gungahlin, (has light rail transport) Woden (has bus transport), Tuggeranong (ditto) and Belconnen (yep, guess what, it has public transport too) The problem with making such obviously fanciful claims is that no one believes anything else you say.

phoon phoon 10:16 pm 17 Sep 19

So let’s charge people more rego for using their cars. Great idea Shane. Those of us that don’t have ratepayer funded cars though actually already pay the highest rego in the country and every km we drive already costs us a fortune in fuel tax and in parking fees. We use cars because we need to not because we want the world to burn. This isn’t Copenhagen, it’s an entirely different city. If you want to live in Copenhagen please feel free. But the rest of us actually have limited means and expect our government to provide what we need in an efficient and effective manner not rip every last cent out of us and curtail our ability to do things as simple as get to work or the shops or drop the kids off.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:24 am 18 Sep 19

“Electric autonomous vehicles perhaps, they will give the elderly and disabled far greater freedom than they currently have. It is a plan. “

Being an aged person, I would be very hesitant to get into a driver-less car controlled by computers. I have visions of the Greens overriding my chosen destination on the computer and then arriving instead at the Soylent Green factory.

It is a plan, indeed.

theberra theberra 7:11 am 19 Sep 19

Perhaps the government could actually do something useful about combating emissions and install intelligent traffic lights.
It is appalling to see 10-15 cars stopped at a red light to let one vehicle through from another direction. with intelligent lights the single vehicle could be held for 15 or so seconds longer and save 10 vehicles worth of acceleration emissions.
this would have the added benefit of improving the efficiency of the traffic flow.

rationalobserver rationalobserver 9:41 am 19 Sep 19

Australia’s, and by extension Canberra’s best contribution on a world scale is to be as efficient and effective economy as possible so that there is an excess which we can use to help others.
These social experiments / ego trips will lead directly to inefficiencies as people adopt less productive routines in response (more time on buses, less efficient transport options, increases in absenteeism, diversion of discretionary funds). We are now les able to help those who are worse polluters than us. No one wins.

astro2 astro2 6:32 pm 19 Sep 19

“The ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-2025…recommended car-free days once a year…” Oh! The Horror! The Hysteria! The Hand Wringing! Toughen up you perpetually outraged snowflakes.

    BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 10:36 am 21 Sep 19

    If it has no substantial impact then why even bother? Perhaps it’s a decoy or perhaps it’s a foot in the door or perhaps it’s a dog whistle to the entitled.

    This snowflake wants the government to do the hard sustainable stuff, like put a hard limit on population.

    astro2 astro2 1:11 pm 21 Sep 19

    You couldn’t really say it has no substantial impact unless it’s been tried, could you. The main potential benefit would be to open people’s minds to alternative methods of getting around town. As to the so-called population problem: the fact is Australia has a fairly low level of population; it’s the emissions per person that is the problem and our over-reliance on coal exports; we simply need to diversify economic output. This is quite feasible and, as a prosperous nation, we are in a good position to do so.

Spiral Spiral 1:05 pm 20 Sep 19

Encouraging people to use public transport is a great idea. Obviously it isn’t suitable for everyone but there are many people who could use public transport with minimal disruption to their day.

However the worrying part is that the government will provide incentives.

Sometimes our government gets confused and their idea of an incentive is that they wont punish you if you do what they want.

So:
Encourage people to use public transport – Great idea
Provide an incentive for people to do so – Probably a good idea but of course the details are important
Penalize people because they don’t use public transport – Very bad

A Nonny Mouse A Nonny Mouse 8:35 pm 20 Sep 19

Nothing new in Libs misrepresenting the position of the ALP or Greens. Par for the course really.

BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 10:04 am 21 Sep 19

I have mostly voted labor or greens in the past but I’m more than happy to hear the liberals speaking up finally on this issue.

BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 10:28 am 21 Sep 19

What is the ACT government doing to increase options for working from home for its 25000 strong workforce? Think how that would rejuvenate local suburban shops and services at the same time as taking thousands of cars off the roads. Bingo!

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