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

Ian Bushnell 15 February 2019 170
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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170 Responses to Private car users in Government sights as transport emissions continue to rise
Geoff Lever Geoff Lever 3:43 pm 18 Feb 19

Time to move across the border to NSW and still drive around the ACT as the town council we have here in Canberra cannot charge interstate residents taxes.

Jordana Martin Jordana Martin 3:33 pm 18 Feb 19

Hmph. This is completely impractical as the current system goes. The earliest bus I can catch near my house would get me to my job at a gym 7 minutes after class started. Then I’d have to spend an hour on 2 buses to get to my corporate job on time, but wouldn’t be able to get my kid to school in that time. I’d love to support public transport here, and happily use it in other cities but it’s an inefficient joke in Canberra

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.

Teresa BRx Teresa BRx 2:43 pm 18 Feb 19

Perhaps redesigning the traffic lights would help. Barry Way and Drakeford Drive are meant to be “the way”, yet you’ll constantly be going from red light to red light

Michael Blythe Michael Blythe 2:29 pm 18 Feb 19

Pathetic. Time for a change of government to a more realistic mindset. The light rail is a complete waste of money, our buses are rubbish, and who in their right mind would ride 50km each way to work?

Jon McLeod Jon McLeod 2:28 pm 18 Feb 19

How refreshing.

Ken Owers Ken Owers 2:22 pm 18 Feb 19

Civic bubble :-)

Bruce J Williamson Bruce J Williamson 1:59 pm 18 Feb 19

Bruce Hopper what are they doing about all of those non compliant VW and Audi's? Check out Netflix Dirty money

these are over 100 times more polluting than law permits!

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. .

Randy Goldberg Randy Goldberg 1:46 pm 18 Feb 19

I own an electric vehicle (EV) in Canberra. I'd like to see MORE incentives for EVs to further help reduce emissions. (Cheaper/free parking, use of bus lanes & lights, etc. I know we save on Stamp Duty but it would be nice to see some incentives to go majority/fully electric driven vehicles.)

Sorry. Although the Toyota model is electric, I believe the majority of driving is ICE powered and doesn't save much unless you're sitting idle/in traffic when the ICE engine is "off" and the car isn't moving/creeping in traffic.

Jane Pearce Jane Pearce 1:30 pm 18 Feb 19

If I was relying on the public transport system (system being the operative term!!) to get my daughter and I to school and work, the day would be over before I’d even managed to reach my workplace! As it stands, by the time I’ve delivered my daughter to school in Belconnen (designated school bus is being cancelled to/from the Southside next month, even though we already have to travel by car to catch the school bus) and myself to work in Barton it’s already mid-morning. The ‘system’ needs to improve a great deal before I can rely on it to get me anywhere. I say let the ACT Government take responsibility for the carbon emissions until such time as we have a fast, efficient, reliable, safe (the bus interchanges are hideous, dangerous and crime hotspots) and affordable public transport system. Until then, I have no choice... no car, no work, no money, no food, no life! Seriously thinking of moving out of Canberra... it’s unaffordable for the average person/family.

Ant Davies Ant Davies 1:25 pm 18 Feb 19

When there is a bus running thru every suburb on a 5-10 minute cycle to a hub (interchange) amd then 5 min buses direct to each other hub then you might expect patronage. Otherwise why waste time waiting for a bus that may not show to then trundle thru many other suburbs and multiple interchanges that takes a 15-min car trip into a 40-70min bus trip. No thanks. Convenience regularity and directness will get people onboard. But as a little territy with hogh expectations of service it would never be funded to the required level.

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.

Sue Skinner Sue Skinner 1:09 pm 18 Feb 19

Would love to catch a bus from Queanbeyan in to Woden, but not prepared to pay $15 per day!

    Kerenza Brown Kerenza Brown 9:03 pm 18 Feb 19

    Sue Skinner yep. Those of us who commute from across the border have no option but our cars. Especially when you add in school drop offs/pick ups and other such activities.....

Michelle Mills Michelle Mills 1:02 pm 18 Feb 19

Weston Creek to Tuggeranong takes way too long by bus

Sue Ellen Sue Ellen 1:02 pm 18 Feb 19

Timing a bit suss. Surely the time to look at figures is when the tram gets going and everyone who voted for it/ had access gets on it and reduces traffic congestion. Please let it be true! Oh and an end to traffic jams thanks to tram/roadworks!

Wade Bermingham Wade Bermingham 12:58 pm 18 Feb 19

It would be easier for me to ride a cow in to work

Megan Baker-Goldsmith Megan Baker-Goldsmith 12:56 pm 18 Feb 19

That’s all well and good, but what we need is more parking around the bus interchanges.

Ie- if you live in waniassa, and drop your kids at a local day-care and school, then need to work in civic, you should be able to take your car, do your school/daycare run, then park cheaply at the Woden bus interchange and then get the bus to/from work.- with express runs and rapid transit lanes to ensure the busses get priority.

It reduces congestion and car usage, but still gives people the flexibility to do what they need.

Helene Jermolajew Helene Jermolajew 12:48 pm 18 Feb 19

And then there are the pensioners who can't afford a new car, can't afford to replace appliances and can't afford the electricity bills, let alone needing to travel to suburbs (to help with child minding ) which would mean at least 2 buses and an hour each way compared to 10-15 minutes car travel. Bureaucrats with all the conveniences of life don't think real life things through very well do they?

Jen Wright Jen Wright 12:43 pm 18 Feb 19

Some jobs are really hard to use public transport with.

And public transport is not yet at a level that it can be relied upon for reach and frequency.

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