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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
Deb Dunbar Deb Dunbar 5:07 pm 18 Feb 19

It was taking my son almost 2 hours and 3 buses to get to school and the same to get home. 4 hours using public transport is ridiculous for Canberra.

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

Julian O'Dea Julian O'Dea 4:45 pm 18 Feb 19

The ACT Government is determined to turn Canberra into Balmain.

It was never designed like that, and this is just a Greenie trendy dream.

Des Berminghan Des Berminghan 4:43 pm 18 Feb 19

Yep ride em cowboy

Timmy Dean Timmy Dean 4:39 pm 18 Feb 19

Rossy Bailetti Electric scooters. They’ve been approved for use in Adelaide during the fringe festival!

    Stephen Millar Stephen Millar 8:03 pm 18 Feb 19

    Timmy Dean a great way to get my drum kit to a gig! Would be fun around the city though.

    David Weston David Weston 8:20 pm 18 Feb 19

    Stephen Millar you need the monster sized electric skate board I saw in Sydney

    Jenna Gray Jenna Gray 6:52 am 19 Feb 19

    Well yes, but they aren’t easy for everyone to ride. I couldn’t image my 90 year old mother - who drives comfortably- riding one

Les Eite Les Eite 4:13 pm 18 Feb 19

No car parks for the new tram line plenty of space for it but no

Samuel Gordon-Stewart Samuel Gordon-Stewart 4:09 pm 18 Feb 19

Yeah well they can go jump. Apart from shift work and having work to do all over town at all hours, I happen to like my personal transportation device which goes where I want, when I want. And man-made global warming is a myth anyway, so I won’t be inconveniencing myself to solve an imaginary problem.

Jacqueline Von Renouard Jacqueline Von Renouard 4:03 pm 18 Feb 19

Not giving up my car

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.

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

July Williams July Williams 2:39 pm 18 Feb 19

Well don't decrease the buses just because there's a light rail commencing!!!

It's the most ridiculous thing that now to go to Belconnen from Nicholls will take about an hour instead of 20-30 mins!

Not really a crowd pleaser. Nor does it make sense to decrease bus services outside of the light rail route.



Actually it's a joke....


    Elizabeth Zatschler Elizabeth Zatschler 3:51 pm 18 Feb 19

    July Williams our family uses the 51/52 every day from Belconnen. It is going to be missed.

    July Williams July Williams 4:02 pm 18 Feb 19

    Elizabeth Zatschler exactly my point.

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.

    Ian McLeod Ian McLeod 6:50 am 20 Feb 19

    Let us know how much it costs to replace your battery when it's due.

    People also seem to overlook the rare earth mining supporting this, which even produces mildly radioactive mine tailings. But we're not allowed to use that surplus Thorium due to nuclear hysteria.

    Rare earths also come predominantly from China with a dubious human rights and environmental record.

    Not saying EVs are bad but we need to look at the whole picture, not just the bits we find appealing.

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