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
Charlie Karmenu Flask Charlie Karmenu Flask 7:50 pm 18 Feb 19

Keep the trees and we'll be fine

    Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 7:59 pm 18 Feb 19

    Charlie Carmenu Flask we are on the same level. Pity the ones in charge aren't.

Anna Buckman Anna Buckman 7:45 pm 18 Feb 19

Don’t worry a Canberra soon the price for fuel will be so expensive. Barr need to keep his public transport to be success. Because is a great idea wit City like this. 😂😂😂

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!

Adam Birgan Adam Birgan 6:58 pm 18 Feb 19

Only one border though Geoff Lever.

Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 6:30 pm 18 Feb 19

Also, dont trees and open green spaces offset carbon emissions? How many trees is the ACT Government currently culling per year versus replanting? And as for urban infill, such as the green corridor in Mawson that has been filled in? Maybe start acting reality.

Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 6:25 pm 18 Feb 19

There is a common theme here in the comments Andrew Barr ACT Chief Minister Andrew Wall MLA Joy Burch MLA Alistair Coe MLA

Natasha Van Oudheusden Natasha Van Oudheusden 6:23 pm 18 Feb 19

They would have to improve public transport for that to happen. At the moment I’ll have to leave home at 5:40 so that I’m at work on time at 7:30 and walk almost for 2kms between my house, the three buses that I need to catch and my office. By car it takes 30min as opposed to 2 hours and I get to park in the staff parking.

    Daria Sigma Daria Sigma 12:01 pm 19 Feb 19

    That too - can't help but think more would take it up if the service were better.

Tom Oliver Tom Oliver 6:18 pm 18 Feb 19

I guess if the car's out im going to be stuck with using bronwyn bishop's helicopter then.

At least we've been given the answer to why fuel is more expensive in the ACT

Tom Oliver Tom Oliver 6:14 pm 18 Feb 19

It's going to be pretty funny watching all those pompous pollies rock up to parliament on their Melvern Star's

James Forge James Forge 6:05 pm 18 Feb 19

Are the MLA's leading by example and handing in their taxpayer funded cars to catch the bus to work?

That will free up some parking spaces in Civic.

Tina Deasey Tina Deasey 5:43 pm 18 Feb 19

For the work I do I cannot catch a bus 🤣😂 could only imagine trying to get on one with the stuff I need to carry in my car.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 5:58 pm 18 Feb 19

    And no one expects you to carry all your plumbing gear, or whatever it is, on a bus. Work vehicles are not what it is about. It is about the majority of car drivers who don't need to carry great amounts of gear to work or for work.

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.

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