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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105 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.

Christopher Mawbey Christopher Mawbey 6:02 pm 17 Sep 19

How do tradies etc go car free?

    Belinda Stewart Belinda Stewart 6:04 pm 17 Sep 19

    Christopher Mawbey exactly, stupid proposal by stupid people.

    Deepak Ramanath Deepak Ramanath 6:06 pm 17 Sep 19

    Christopher Mawbey they will work from home 😉

Jan Gottwald Jan Gottwald 6:07 pm 17 Sep 19

Tell a tradie about the idea of a car free day😂

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.

Sarah MacNaught Sarah MacNaught 6:09 pm 17 Sep 19

I'll go car free if I can work from home. There's no other way for me to get to work.

Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 6:10 pm 17 Sep 19

WhAt About A TraDIe???

If it was mandatory you'd be making some kind of point.

Jenny Bolin Jenny Bolin 6:12 pm 17 Sep 19

Give the postie back a push bike,delivery drivers a day off, community nurses - no way to alter this one.......

Tony Jim Tony Jim 6:15 pm 17 Sep 19

So police, fire and ambulance don’t respond that day?

    Guy Manton Guy Manton 7:02 pm 17 Sep 19

    Anthony Crocker have you ever heard of hyperbole. I think any rational adult would be smart enough to know they aren't talking about a blanket ban even without reading the details of the proposal.

    Tony Jim Tony Jim 7:32 pm 17 Sep 19

    Guy Manton I’d like to think you’re right. But I’d also like to think they they are smarter than banning cars in the first place. Let’s see how rational they are

    Ben Garden Ben Garden 9:45 am 18 Sep 19

    Anthony Crocker They aren't. Do you really think that is what they are proposing?

Gerard Dwyer Gerard Dwyer 6:16 pm 17 Sep 19

Looks like nobody read the article or looked at the proposals.

    Matthew Pez Matthew Pez 7:48 pm 17 Sep 19

    Here's some more evidence for you: https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

Pam Hall Pam Hall 6:19 pm 17 Sep 19

You must be joking, no buses to get everyone to work, oh wait there is a tram!!! Unfortunately we don’t all live in Gungahlin and work in Civic

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 6:43 pm 17 Sep 19

    Daniel J. Fitzpatrick the vast majority of the population of Canberra don’t though...

    Stacey Ingram Stacey Ingram 6:52 pm 17 Sep 19

    Pam Hall Try reading the actual proposal!!

    Jim Jim Jim Jim 9:14 pm 17 Sep 19

    Daniel J. Fitzpatrick and what about in Tuggeranong? The biggest suburb in the Southern Hemisphere in Kambah. You put forward a weak argument likening numbers to disability access to justify the Gungahlin Express. If it were about numbers the Southside would’ve been the priority. Peak hour is still peak hour in Gungahlin, like everywhere in Canberra, train or not.

John Boland John Boland 6:29 pm 17 Sep 19

Hate to say it, and the only time ill probably ever agree with the Libs but... They were RIGHT ...🤣

Stas Idowu Stas Idowu 6:32 pm 17 Sep 19

They're gone next year. Time is up

Julie Delves Julie Delves 6:39 pm 17 Sep 19

Why are conservatives so anti-science? So anti ‘conserving’ anything good and worthwhile.

Brent Carlisle Brent Carlisle 6:41 pm 17 Sep 19

They have to go.

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 7:14 pm 17 Sep 19

    Brent Carlisle whatever keeps you comfortable

Jenny Gordon Avery Jenny Gordon Avery 6:46 pm 17 Sep 19

Just to counteract the WILD distorted suggestions that will drown out the actual proposal... screenshot from the Chief Minister's page that anyone can go and visit....

    Tricia Copas Tricia Copas 7:09 pm 17 Sep 19

    Jenny Gordon Avery so not a monthly closure of Drakeford? 🤣

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.

Jim Jim Jim Jim 6:47 pm 17 Sep 19

I’d prefer a ‘Barr-free day’. This mob are well on the nose and well overdue.

    Sherbie Leo Sherbie Leo 7:03 pm 17 Sep 19

    Jim Hosie I’m hoping for Barr free future. New t-shirt logo for 2020 Barr humbug Vote him out!

デ スティーブ デ スティーブ 6:53 pm 17 Sep 19

City-area Car Free days make sense for major festivals.

Stacey Ingram Stacey Ingram 6:53 pm 17 Sep 19

If only people knew how to read!! 🤦‍♀️

Once a year, during such things as festivals, likely limited to only a few urban streets

    Stacey Ingram Stacey Ingram 7:18 pm 17 Sep 19

    Rob Thomas Oh, the injustice! 😳🤣

    Stacey Ingram Stacey Ingram 7:27 pm 17 Sep 19

    Daniel Evans Haha, nice try, but actually... no.

    Research and comprehension using credible sources is obviously beyond your capabilities. AND... it's clear you haven't read the actual proposals and have fallen for propaganda. 🤟

    Care to try again? 😬

    Matthew Pez Matthew Pez 7:45 pm 17 Sep 19

    Here you go, one actually has to interpret the data though and it's done well here:

    https://skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-global-warming.htm

    Matthew Pez Matthew Pez 9:22 pm 17 Sep 19

    Daniel Evans did you read the actual article, because you claim that there are no references and the graphs are not referenced.

    You're wrong, because everything is referenced and the hyperlinks work. For example: a graph in the article that you claim isn't referenced:

    Matthew Pez Matthew Pez 9:23 pm 17 Sep 19

    See the Church et al (2011)? If you click on the link, it takes you to the scientific paper:

    Matthew Pez Matthew Pez 9:26 pm 17 Sep 19

    You have clearly not read the article. Further, it isn't to try and "scorn" David Evans, it's a clear scientific refutation to his claim. That is not slander.

    The whole site was set up to provide clear information on the reality of climate change, and clear refutations of arguments climate sceptics like you make.

    Matthew Pez Matthew Pez 9:43 pm 17 Sep 19

    Daniel Evans, your other claim about humans only contributing a small amount of CO2: it is enough to make a difference - especially since it builds up and isn't removed by "carbon sinks", it indeed is enough to upset Earth's delicate balance and has taken 100+ years to become critical. All the natural sources of CO2 are being removed by natural carbon sinks - ours is not.

    I personally believe the solution is some sort of atmospheric carbon scrubbers, not many people talk about a technological solution like that despite companies working on that sort of technology.

    Here's a video that addresses your claim:

    https://youtu.be/kQ9hPl9dl98

    Jorge Garcia Jorge Garcia 12:33 am 18 Sep 19

    Stacey Ingram This announcement of a car free day was made in the back of zero net emissions by 2045. The vision includes getting people to buy less cars and when they do they want them to be electric. They also want to encourage people to ride bikes and public transport and to swap their ducted gas systems for electric heating. So no... there is no limit to the Eutopian dream. And then they get upset when thet call Canberra a bubble.

    Jorge Garcia Jorge Garcia 12:37 am 18 Sep 19

    The real problem with these sorts of plans is that they ignore the needs of the less able, the less fit, the elderly, and those with less disposable income. You mark my words... they will just introduce a huge tax on driving and on using gas, and will do nothing to provide vianle convenient cheap options.

    Colin Trinder Colin Trinder 5:28 am 18 Sep 19

    Perry Matthew What you said .. Daniel Evans has no idea what he is talking about.

    Jill Lee Bee Jill Lee Bee 6:35 am 18 Sep 19

    I went to a floriade event at night last year. Five thousand people. The buses stopped an hour before the event did. Its ridiculous

    Belle Tissott Belle Tissott 6:50 am 18 Sep 19

    Stacey Ingram thank you! Some sense amid the outrage

    Stacey Ingram Stacey Ingram 7:06 am 18 Sep 19

    Jorge Garcia Oh please.

    Even if you remove emissions and climate change from the equation, it is still a fantastic idea. This doesn't hinder on anyone's ability to get to work, will increase tourism and jobs and provide a larger, pedestrian friendly environment for our growing festivals.

    The multicultural festival is always crowded and smaller businesses have been squeezed out thanks to space restrictions.

    Blockading Bunda st and Akuna st and a few other surrounding streets only creates a safe and larger space for ALL.

    Also, I am a minority member, this has no impact on me at all!

    People are choosing to be outraged because it fits their confirmation bias, you're anti-Barr and likely anti-Labor and would never agree with them in spite of yourself.

    Sharee Schultz Sharee Schultz 9:23 am 18 Sep 19

    Stacey Ingram actually Hitler did just that! I studied WW2 as an elective at school & have continued my studies. Maybe you need to do some research on his tactics.

    Stacey Ingram Stacey Ingram 9:38 am 18 Sep 19

    Sharee Schultz I'm currently studying WW2 and the cold war and I, in part, disagree.

    As much as Hitler did indeed chip away at civil liberties slowly, it was implied above, as is common in the current climate, that Hitler was a socialist. This is what I disagree with. Equating the tactics of Hitler with our current local government is hyperbolic and detracts from the actual proposals being put forward.

    Freedom of movement is not being hindered here, Coe and co have created a mountain out of a speck of dirt and the outraged community who are displeased with Barr, and rightly so in many other cases, have fallen for the propaganda.

Yann Mengneau Yann Mengneau 6:53 pm 17 Sep 19

Common Canberran get a grip !!!! Car free days been done in Europe for decades it is usually restrict to the hyper center of cities and there is exceptions always for emergencies services, public transports and/or tradies. One day out of 365 it is not that difficult. Australia is so behind in term of environmental actions it is like middle age and politics don’t helps.

    Guy Manton Guy Manton 7:21 pm 17 Sep 19

    Yann Mengneau we do have this weird prioritization of cars. Like all other transport modes are only considered on the basis of how much they will impact car usage. Not how they will impact transportation in general.

    Yann Mengneau Yann Mengneau 7:30 pm 17 Sep 19

    Guy Manton I did realize that when I arrive in Australia about 7 years ago and felt like I was in a third world country (in term of public transport). Now I am Australian and cannot do anything without a car ! 😂

    Yann Mengneau Yann Mengneau 7:43 pm 17 Sep 19

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car-Free_Days

    Daniel Evans FYI

    First Car free day organise in France was in La Rochelle (in 1997) where I lived for a few years. Not a Metropolis about 50000 soul. 10 times less than Canberra.

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