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Private car users in Government sights as transport emissions continue to rise

Ian Bushnell 15 February 2019 207
Canberra Traffic

The Government wants more Canberrans to swap cars for the bus, light rail, or bike. File photo.

The ACT Government will target private car owners in a bid to reverse rising greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector, with private car use the biggest contributor.

Overall the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to fall, as more of the Territory’s electricity comes from renewable sources. But the transport sector stands apart as the next big challenge for the Government.

The ACT’s 2017-18 Greenhouse Gas Inventory report found that the ACT’s emissions fell 14 per cent over the year, but transport emissions rose 2.3 per cent on 2016-17 levels and now accounts for 34 per cent of all emissions.

By 2020, when the ACT will be powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity, transport will be Canberra’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, at more than 60 per cent.

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said the Government would be encouraging car users to consider other ways of getting around the city.

“The Government will focus on helping people to take sustainable modes of transport, like light rail, buses and active transport. We’re also looking to the community to work with us, to being open to trying new ways of moving around the city,” he said.

The Government is also encouraging the take-up of electric vehicles, with new charge points, and the transition of the Government fleet to ‘clean’ cars.

Mr Rattenbury said the other challenge was reducing reliance on natural gas, and eventually phasing out its use altogether. Natural gas emissions decreased by 4 per cent on 2016-17 levels, but it is still a major source of heating for many Canberrans.

“Natural gas emissions are already reducing, partly due to people switching to new highly efficient electric appliances for their home heating and cooking,” he said.

The report found a big drop in waste emissions, down 31 per cent from 2016-17, mainly due to an increase in the volume of landfill gas captured and burnt.

Electricity emissions fell 27 per cent on 2016-17 levels.

“The report shows the ACT continues to make great progress in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable electricity generation grew from 30 per cent to 49 per cent in 2017-18 as more of our wind farms came online,” Minister Rattenbury said.

He said the report showed that, with strong community support, the ACT can meet its emission goals.

The 2017-18 Greenhouse Gas Inventory is available at www.environment.act.gov.au.


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207 Responses to Private car users in Government sights as transport emissions continue to rise
Tempestas Tempestas 11:18 am 24 Feb 19

Here is a thought, given all the “but it is impossible for me to use PT or change travel mode because too hard, long difficult, not enough service etc”. How about we limit car use to one lane or one way on every road in Canberra that a bus uses or an on road cycle lane exists. That will serve to make car commutes more equal to other transport modes and allow us to speed up PT and cycling as well as add more PT services. To help pay for all the new PT we can triple rego fees & parking and limit all parking in town centres to 2 hour max.

If the proposal by govt was this anti-car, then you would have something to complain about. It isn’t – it is about targeting car users to change their transport mode where they can. Obviously that won’t work for every commute, but if it works for you at some time and you chose that other mode it will be good for all of Canberra.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:33 am 24 Feb 19

Yes JC, I saw that explanation about the pantograph/charging problem. The City to Woden section will have this set-up unless the government opt for the more expensive and complex induction system.

The re-introduction of trams in Sydney a few years ago also saw a lot of “teething” problems with CAF trams .

With you being the major defender for this unfolding disaster I am happier to be the cheerleader for the “I told you so” detractors.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:20 pm 22 Feb 19

The first week of Newcastle’s tram experiment (same as Canberra’s) a magnificent success:

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/second-tram-breaks-down-on-light-rail-line-four-days-after-services-commence-20190221-p50zgt.html

    JC JC 5:11 pm 23 Feb 19

    One main difference is Newcastle runs in batteries and recharged at stops. And Lo and behold the article mentioned the problem with the second vehicle was with the pabtograph that is raised at stops to charge and the first also a charging issue.

    That said do you seriously think any project in the world will not have teething problems? I’m awaiting the glee from some here when the first operational breakdown occurs in the Canberra line. The comments will be along the lines see we told you all it was a bucket of poo. But after a few weeks it will all settle down and never heard from again.

aussie2 aussie2 5:52 pm 21 Feb 19

Since my Combined Community Council Transport working Group made a submission to Government on Network14, and even longer, nothing has changed. One of the recommendations we made was to work with Resident Associations, Community Councils etc and Govt to meet with specific catchments to identify those factors which would convince Joe Public to mode shift. Currently, for at least the past 29 years it JUST TAKES TOO LONG to get anywhere. Get a commitment from residents to mode shift if government provide DIRECT ROUTES and you may get there. Until that happens, it will be more of the same. When I put the “joke” to Transport Staff-“what is the longest distance between two points-an ACTION bus service” they all laughed. They do not get it, even now, and despite Simon Corbell saying he wanted to compete with the car-nothing has changed. So Canberrans-let’s get the government to meet with us and tell them what we want. In fact, let’s make it an election issue as they won’t have resolved the issue by then anyway.

madelini madelini 5:01 pm 21 Feb 19

That’s nice, but there’s no public transport links to my place of work and my wage isn’t growing proportionate to cost of living increases, so I can’t afford a bike (let alone the time commitment).

    astro2 astro2 7:24 am 22 Feb 19

    If you can’t afford a bike then you certainly couldn’t afford a car (let alone the time commitment).

elliottalex elliottalex 10:30 pm 20 Feb 19

Couple of issues with this proposition by the Barr Government.

Firstly they state “The Government will focus on helping people to take sustainable modes of transport, like light rail, buses and active transport”. Well this is not true as they’ve cut many bus services and many more cuts yet to come.

I would gladly catch a bus each day if we actually had a decent system in Canberra. It takes me 15 minutes to drive to work. Catching a bus takes a minimum of an hour. I think that point is a major issue for many Canberrans.

Secondly Canberra has a lot of interstate drivers. Targeting what I assume will be ACT registered vehicles is unfair because it doesn’t address the issue of emissions made by the many interstate drivers that live and visit Canberra and all equally contribute to the issue.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:19 am 21 Feb 19

    The NBN contractors are doing suburbs in Tuggeranong now and I note all their vehicles are NSW registered as are a lot of vehicles doing work in Molonglo roadworks and all over Canberra for that matter.

    Large trucks involved in waste and recycling are also registered interstate despite them being operated exclusively in the ACT. These are the vehicles that knock the crap out of our roads but they pay nothing in return.

    Another police cop-out (pun intended).

    JC JC 5:47 pm 21 Feb 19

    Actually the government isn’t cutting bus services. They are reorganising the routes to make the quicker and more often, which in this town is the only viable way to make a decent bus service. The new timetable has 30 extra buses operating it.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:22 am 22 Feb 19

    Which bus service/s will you be using now, JC?

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:46 pm 19 Feb 19

“The Government is also encouraging the take-up of electric vehicles, with new charge points, and the transition of the Government fleet to ‘clean’ cars.”

Let’s hope that electric vehicles become very affordable (for people who have to buy and maintain a car from their own pocket, not from the ratepayers’ pockets) very quickly, because in the meantime, this campaign against vehicle emissions will be just another revenging-gouging jihad by the ACT Government against private vehicles.

If the Government truly wants to encourage “active transport” it should take a hard look at the sort of streetscapes which its planning rules are encouraging and allowing. Take, for example, a walk from the soon-to-be Civic tram terminus to the New Acton precinct. On days when the weather is less than idyllic (we do have them in Canberra), it’s quite bleak and harsh, with limited cover and not particularly accommodating to people with mobility issues – which might explain why most visitors to that area do it by car, and park as close as possible. It’s much the same throughout most of Canberra.

astro2 astro2 6:10 pm 19 Feb 19

Some very defensive posts here. It appears that, possibly due to a pretty silly headline for this article “Private car users in ACT Government sights…” there may have been a lot of knee-jerk reactions. The point wasn’t about banning private motor vehicle use but encouraging alternative forms of transport so that only those who need to use a PMV are on the road. This means 1) more space on the road, less congestion, less rear-ending due to frayed nerves. 2) more parking available without turning the entire city into a giant car park 3) healthier people, lower health budget costs, more available hospital beds, and 4) lower transport costs. According to the NRMA the average motor car trip is less than 8 kms so there’s a lot to work from there.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:20 pm 21 Feb 19

    “…..so that only those who need to use a PMV are on the road.”

    That’s me, and about three quarters of the rest of Canberra.

    This makes any support for your argument futile.

    astro2 astro2 9:09 pm 23 Feb 19

    no it doesn’t actually. You can own a car without having to make every trip around canberra in the car. Plenty of people do. I won’t make up a percentage as you have however it’s pretty clear plenty of people cycling. walking and catching a bus to work make the argument valid.

    TimboinOz TimboinOz 4:15 pm 23 Feb 19

    Really!? The public transport network is, in most cases unsuitable for commuting to and from work. Or can you not read and absorb information?

    The problems with the public transport system make it the main thing causing people to HAVE to use a car to get to the child care centre (OR the school’s one ) and /or to school and then to work. And back again.

    Witless support for a government with a responsible (?) Minister who just hate’s cars, isn’t going to cut it with most folk, in this town.

    IF this Labour/Green coalition had done anything effective to ensure all housing built for the last two decades were truly energy efficient I’d take them seriously, but they have not.

    ? the two big factors are i) orientation so that the dwelling gains heat on cold days and doesn’t gain a lot of heat on HOT days. ii) energy efficient construction. Neither have been effectively implemented.

    I began to seriously study and engage with energy efficiency, in the 1970s. Simply wanting stuff to change out of concern isn’t engagement, nor is it understanding.

    That was a Lake George post, so shallow it’s dry.

    astro2 astro2 9:16 pm 23 Feb 19

    Yep there’s some very defensive posts alright. I’m not sure whether you’re trying to discuss energy efficiency in buildings, the use of private motor vehicles or just that you don’t like the current ACT Government.

dukethunder dukethunder 12:06 pm 19 Feb 19

Clearly not a popular policy with Barr’s proletariat. Often wonder why the Liberals don’t get into the media with a counter position when the Government spews out unwarranted interventions such as this. Be seen as an opposition. Might get some votes

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:27 am 22 Feb 19

    The Liberals are incapable of developing a “counter position” and the media (CT and ABC) won’t give them the time of day to promulgate it.

    JC JC 8:04 am 24 Feb 19

    Being a bit harsh on the media there. They do publish the shrill that comes from the Libs. And I have no doubt they would publish a policy position from them if they had one.

Gareth Walsh Gareth Walsh 7:31 pm 18 Feb 19

Incentivise switching to an electric vehicle by reducing the registration fees! All other states and territories do it!

bj_ACT bj_ACT 5:03 pm 18 Feb 19

I am not sure the ACT Government has properly thought through the primary and secondary implications of this policy change.

It’s worth people doing some of their own analysis on Commuting Journey data from the 2016 CENSUS (link to interactive map at bottom)

Only around 72,000 Canberrans commute to the major employment and public transport hubs of the Civic area, Woden/Phillip area, Belco, Gunghalin and Tuggeranong/Greenway.

That still leaves a helluva lot of workers who are going to other places from right across Canberra, and also those not travelling directly from Home to Work. (people have to drop Children on or off, go to exercise places, visit friends, do their shopping, medical visits etc etc).

This proposal might get some extra people off our roads and onto Public Transport. But to a much greater effect, it will financially hurt people in outer suburbs, steal free time from already time poor people, hit mothers and carers in particular and target the most vulnerable and immobile citizens of the city.

ABS 2071.0.55.001 – Census of Population and Housing: Commuting to Work

This link has percent signs in it and doesn’t work properly in Riotact
https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/2071.0.55.001~2016~Main%20Features~Journey%20to%20Work%20to%20Place%20of%20Work~60

Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 3:52 pm 18 Feb 19

They can’t be serious! They should begin by looking in their own backyard. The public housing property across the road has hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of petrol guzzling “hotted up” cars. As these people don’t work, they spend their days joy riding around in these machines. They and those like them are probably responsible for a significant proportion of greenhouse gas emissions in Canberra. Give me a break Mr Rattenbury. You’d be better off focussing on governing properly.

Gilavon Gilavon 3:09 pm 18 Feb 19

Ngunnawal to City to visit Dermatologist then return home: Bus/Tram (if ever it gets running), walk 700 metres each end (age 75, don’t walk so well nowadays) = 58 minutes each way if I make all connections. Modern car with cylinder deactivation = 18-24 minutes each way.

bj_ACT bj_ACT 1:52 pm 18 Feb 19

Great plan!!! The ACT Government has made the new Bus routes ‘better’ for people in the inner suburbs and ‘worse’ for people in the outer suburbs.

Now they’re going to hit the poorer people in the outer suburbs of Tuggeranong, Belconnen and Gunghalin just to make sure they can show a net growth in public transport use. .

Maelinar Maelinar 1:19 pm 18 Feb 19

Where are these ‘wind farms’ that Min. Rattenbury is talking about ?

I for one am supportive of a one person transport tube that goes under LBG just like in futurama – somebody call Elon Musk quick !

Oh, and monorail. Lets get one that connects to the light rail and goes around the parliamentary triangle in a sightseeing and public servant drop off circuit. They could even make a plan and connect the southbound light rail circuit to the other side which will save them the dosh of having to build light rail through that expensive bit in the middle.

underwhelmed underwhelmed 12:02 pm 18 Feb 19

When Andrew Barr is questioned about accessing services that he has conveniently moved from the south of Canberra to the north, he brushes off the question by saying that everywhere is a short drive????
We need to place services on the main rapid bus routes ie move Reid CIT to Woden opposite the bus interchange so people are more able to access these services.

    JC JC 8:08 am 24 Feb 19

    So what has been moved from north to south?

    And silly me I thought the city was the most central part of Canberra. (Yes I know Yarralummla is the population centre). They should probably move Woden hospital to the City so it is more accessible to the whole of Canberra too.

Rollersk8r Rollersk8r 11:45 am 18 Feb 19

Target them how? I do far more than my fair share of leaving the car at home and either cycling or catching the bus to work. However there are still days when I need to drive. I would love to pay rego based on how little I use my car; but how is this possible unless the government spends millions fitting every car with a GPS or e-tag type system?

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