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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

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207 Responses to Private car users in Government sights as transport emissions continue to rise
Christopher Goyne Christopher Goyne 12:05 pm 18 Feb 19

More greenie lucancy aided and abetted by Labor. Cars will remain the primary mode of transport for decades.

Rachel Hill Rachel Hill 12:05 pm 18 Feb 19

Well i commute to civic from outside of canberra buses not convenient too far for bike light rail not out my way so ....yeah thanks for your consideration there act government

Steve Kenihan Steve Kenihan 12:05 pm 18 Feb 19

Transport emissions would also fall if traffic lights were coordinated like they are in other cities.

    Ian McLeod Ian McLeod 6:45 am 20 Feb 19

    That's an excellent point! Why aren't ACT lights properly coordinated!

Robert Knight Robert Knight 12:05 pm 18 Feb 19

Thanks to the roads only, sprawling suburbia focus of the NCDC for 50+ years, we ended up with a city dependant upon cars. Now that we're heading into a crisis of fuel price rises and a need to reduce emissions, what are the bulk of Canberrans for whom public, or active transport really aren't viable options going to do? Using a stick by itself really isn't a good way of going about it. We need carrots too.

My party, the Canberra Progressives, are interested in developing those carrots. We think there should be far more public investment in bicycle 'highways' separated from walking paths and roads, along with publicly led design and development of high amenity, medium density housing in close proximity to town centres and other activity nodes around the city. Give families more housing options (that aren't a high-rise apartment) close to work, school, shops, and services, and you reduce the need to even get in a car and traverse the city. Combine those things with incentives to use public transport aligned with active transport - lower fares, secure bicycle storage at public transport stops, better feeder services etc - and slowly, but surely we can start reducing our transport emissions and car dependency.

    Krzysztof Jakubaszek Krzysztof Jakubaszek 8:22 pm 18 Feb 19

    Robert Knight and exactly how will you pay for this? You will need billions to upgrade the infrastructure, bike paths is not the way to go. To get an idea about how transport and supporting services SHOULD function look at Paris. It’s a prime example with its metro.

    But again MONEY. You can’t tax the rates again, lifting rego is idiotic, the civic leavy is already under fire for miss managed funds. Plus coupled with the ridiculous contracts for work that is drafted and signed, we waste a LOT of money and time. Everything goes over budget and over time, with many defects. You should look at money management first in the city.

    Robert Knight Robert Knight 8:28 pm 18 Feb 19

    Krzysztof Jakubaszek, it’s a matter of priorities.

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.

Nico Wright Nico Wright 12:01 pm 18 Feb 19

A Piaggio Medley motorscooter does 40 km p/l and there is no parking charge. There are other options to 1 person 1 car.

Andrew Hamilton Andrew Hamilton 12:01 pm 18 Feb 19

They need to ban all ACT politicians and ACT bureaucrats getting government subsidised cars or car parks as a first step. Can start that right now.

Kerrie Buitendam Kerrie Buitendam 11:47 am 18 Feb 19

Impossible to use the buses when they don’t provide the service during the day.

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?

Jenny Koch Jenny Koch 11:39 am 18 Feb 19

A bus or train from Holder to Queanbeyan 6 days a week including Saturday and Sunday. I have to be at work at 8am everyday. What form of other transport can you suggest except a car???

    Robert Koch Robert Koch 12:14 am 19 Feb 19

    Jenny Koch A scooter?

    Jenny Koch Jenny Koch 6:09 am 19 Feb 19

    Robert Koch and how would Charlie and Harry fit on that? I suppose I could get one the kenworth trucks to pick them up daily while I scooter to work. Lol.

Kristen Cantrill Kristen Cantrill 11:32 am 18 Feb 19

And yet I have to pay for a green waste bin and I can't put veggie scraps in it. So many other councils do green bins and waste better than here.

Evelyne Georgette Evelyne Georgette 11:30 am 18 Feb 19

How about elderly people , how will they get their shopping .Go to the doctors , hospital. It is nearly impossible to get to those place without a car. One doesn't have 30 dollars for a taxi ride each way , every day. Not everyone has a house on the flat , hills have to be climbed or descended to reach the bus ,which only appear every hour each way . or do not appear at times . We are not all willing to live in high rise apartment near the tram stops,to please the currant local Government.

Lauryn Roberts Lauryn Roberts 11:27 am 18 Feb 19

Already costs a fortune to own/run/maintain a car. Don’t have time to waste on public transport. Unreliable and time consuming.

    Ian McLeod Ian McLeod 6:50 am 20 Feb 19

    If you live off the main routes Canberra public transport is hopeless. Takes an hour or more to get anywhere even with peak time services.

Peter Buchanan Peter Buchanan 11:27 am 18 Feb 19

Are they going to supply a bus for my shift work to suit my rotating hours?

Christopher Stuart Veilands Christopher Stuart Veilands 11:22 am 18 Feb 19

I need a car for my work. Start at 4am, so the Rat can sod off

Jane Harris Jane Harris 11:22 am 18 Feb 19

We catch buses when we can but we can walk from Belconnen to Hawker faster than waiting for a bus to connect at Belconnen oftentimes! The changes to timetables have meant our cars get used more!

Fiona Dickson Fiona Dickson 11:20 am 18 Feb 19

Well no surprise ACT Government - the design of urban residential houses currently demands a stupid number of vehicle allowances; the ACT government doesn't communicate about or adequately apply basic push pull traffic management; and the dumb decision to remove bus services on Northbourne from Inner North suburbs once the light rail gets going will have the net effect of pushing people into cars because the combined light rail / bus service will make public transport less, not more convenient for many. Plus removing buses on Northbourne is the same as 'loosening' the belt (freeing up another lane for car traffic). ACT Government can talk all it likes about the emissions created from private car use - but it needs to get proactive - that is. act and communicate - in order to drive a change in behaviour. Plus removing all our trees makes it hot to be outside. Of course people will choose an air conditioned car over a bicycle ride in 40 degree heat.

Rebecca Perrau Rebecca Perrau 11:18 am 18 Feb 19

So catch a bus to take kids to and from school and do the groceries and doctors appointments and kids parties and what if something happens and u need to get somewhere fast....

Yeah good luck with that.

This place is ridiculous what else are the so called government going to try and "fix"

Lynne Staunton Lynne Staunton 11:14 am 18 Feb 19

When it takes longer to go to Charnwood by bus than its takes to travel to Nimmitibel (30k pass Cooma) by car, not a good look.

And now with their new "improved" system coming in to serve the tram... what took one bus and half hour will now take two and longer. And they have taken the woden to fyshwick run out altogether. Am not going to civic first and add in extra half hour+ to what was a twenty minute or less trip.

Maybe it's time to get my licence....and add another car to the road.

Joanne Hagan Joanne Hagan 11:11 am 18 Feb 19

Awesome cause where I live, we don't have a bus service at all!

    Anne Lewis Anne Lewis 8:33 am 19 Feb 19

    Joanne Hagan and being just over the border neither do we 🤔

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