Public servants to go green

Kramer 27 October 2009 32

The ABC reports that the ACT Greens are pushing to allow public servants to salary package bus fares and bikes in an effort to improve the proportion of public servants utilising green transport options. Maybe it’s a method of propping up our ever failing bus network, but I’m a huge fan of salary packing a new bike. I’m not sure if there will be a limit on the type or price of bikes that can be salary packaged, but I’d quite like a new downhill mountain bike (approx $5000). Then all I need is a salary packaged ute to drag the bike to the top of Stromlo for downhill shuttle runs

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32 Responses to Public servants to go green
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 9:25 am 28 Oct 09

I planted 8 tree to offset the carbon that I breathe out.

Now I’m off to do some burnouts…

Thumper Thumper 8:28 am 28 Oct 09

Make buses free and you’ll see a change in transit habits.

Okay, ACTION will self combust because it wouldn’t be able to cope with the influx of people using their services, but that can be fixed.

shauno shauno 11:38 pm 27 Oct 09

I like this Carbon Version wonder if you can offset a carbon bike.

Chop71 Chop71 10:39 pm 27 Oct 09

Can I carbon offset the bubbles in my beer?

moneypenny2612 moneypenny2612 7:37 pm 27 Oct 09

bileduct said :

Grrrr said :

In the UK, employees can already get a bike and related equipment (that is ostensibly for commuting to work) tax free.

In the UK, people need a license to own a TV.

Are you also proposing we should introduce a TV tax to offset these hippie entitlements?

Nah, but I’d support a licence to procreate.

On topic, I like the idea of salary packaging bus tickets and encouraging employees to mass commute. But given that 12 monthly bus passes only sets you back ~$1000pa, I’m not sure if the incentive is all it’s cracked up to be – especially if it’s the same crappy old bus service. (Note: I bus it already.)

Maybe they can couple this with tax off-sets for employees who invest in public transport capacity (kind of like the incentives to invest in Australian film or the still-to-be-sighted Aussie infrastructure bonds). At least the public might actually use the extra public transport, since next to no-one goes to see the films…

cranky cranky 7:29 pm 27 Oct 09

Could be some Very healthy PS types if they too are required to pedal 25K per year to justify the salary sacrifice.

Michelin tyres for pushies?

Blingerific Blingerific 7:19 pm 27 Oct 09

I would love to have a salary sacrifice option that not only supports my choice of transport (I’ll ride any day rather than drive) but also doesn’t force you spew tons of CO2 and other gases into our atmosphere in order to meet a benchmark that more often than not has NFI to do with work. Piling the family in the cage to spend 30hours on a trip to Queensland just to get a tax break? I’d prefer to use my leave to go for a ride…

GB GB 6:33 pm 27 Oct 09

I don’t see efforts to influence or manipulate people into reducing their carbon footprint as having anything to do with an entitlement mentality; or hippies. Doesn’t make them right or wrong, just that ‘entitlement’ is not a relevant argument.

bileduct said :

[angry bile]

and immediatley afterwards, we see RiotACT welcomes constructive, thoughtful and positive comments.

Maybe bd is just an automatic irony generator?

GB GB 6:20 pm 27 Oct 09

barking toad said :

Salary package what you like – it just means giving up cash pay for taking something as a benefit in kind. The difference in the FBT rate and your marginal tax rate usually means many lose. … The effect on the weather is SFA.


a) If something can be salary packaged, more people will choose it (even if the $ effect is the same, convenience wins). So, if lamb can be salary sacrificed, but not beef, then the climate will be the better for it. This may or may not effect your weather.

b) if they focus on just removing the current taxpayer subsidy towards cars (or car manufacturers, really), then the salary sacrifice question becomes much less pressing.

bileduct bileduct 6:11 pm 27 Oct 09

Grrrr said :

In the UK, employees can already get a bike and related equipment (that is ostensibly for commuting to work) tax free.

In the UK, people need a license to own a TV.

Are you also proposing we should introduce a TV tax to offset these hippie entitlements?

damien haas damien haas 5:41 pm 27 Oct 09

These comments seem to have support from the ACT Government, and the Liberals think that it is an idea worth investigating.

However, as I have learnt from listening to ACT ALP politicians – its not what they say – it is what is delivered. They say all sorts of warm hug me sounding words. Rarely do they follow through.

My advice to the Greens is to not get too excited until they see actual legislative changes to make the proposed policy a reality. It is a good policy – and would lead to a percentage point or two of extra public transport usage. As parking in Civic decreases or shifts to paid parking, and becomes more expensive, this idea could gain some traction. I encourage the ACT public servants union, the CPSU, to get behind this idea in the next round of certified agreement negotiations.

The difficulties for delivery of the policy are twofold:

The ACT ALP have no real incentive to actually do anything.
There may be federal fringe benefits tax complications.

So a little bit of work from the legal department is in order to ensure aspiration meets reality.

The policy conforms with my general belief that to move people from their private cars to public transport for commuting, you must make public transport comfortable, reliable and frequent. You cannot punish people into using it.

Transport policy for the ACT Greens can be found here:

For all their rhetoric on sustainable and green transport, disturbingly the ACT Greens remain welded to the ACTION bus model for public transport in the ACT. Their policy is bus focussed. I understand that they are working with the tools at hand (the existing ACTION bus network) but it is disturbing that they do not have a policy of exploring better mass transit options – such as light rail. This is something that I have gained from talking to Green MLA’s as well, not just from looking at their policy.

To achieve the goal that they are asking for, public transport patronage to increase by at least 5% per year between 2008 – 2012 (their policy), they must abandon the idea that ACTION buses can deliver that result. While the bus ticket proposal may eventuate and increase public transport by a percentage point, it will not offer the large scale increase in public transport patronage that a light rail system can deliver.

Damien Haas

Chair, ACT Light Rail Coalition

Grrrr Grrrr 5:10 pm 27 Oct 09

In the UK, employees can already get a bike and related equipment (that is ostensibly for commuting to work) tax free.

As a regular bike rider, I struggle to do 15,000km per year in a car that would make a novated lease worthwhile. Similar bike scheme please for Aus, Federal Govt?

bileduct bileduct 4:56 pm 27 Oct 09

niftydog said :

Now they just need to legislate for employees to provide showers…

Yes, it has come to this. The hippies DO want the Government to wipe their arses for them.

bileduct bileduct 4:47 pm 27 Oct 09

icantbelieveitsnotbutter said :

Calm down princess… believe it or not, the public service contains more than just ‘arts’ graduates…

I know! Some of them didn’t even graduate!

sepi sepi 3:41 pm 27 Oct 09

Can you salary package a motor bike yet, or is that still not possible?

niftydog niftydog 3:17 pm 27 Oct 09

So if it’s not gonna save tax or the planet, how’s about you do something really crazy and selfish and do it for fitness!

Factor in the cost of parking and the health benefits and this is a winner any way you look at it. Now they just need to legislate for employees to provide showers and bike parking and we’ll be getting somewhere.

Funky1 Funky1 1:49 pm 27 Oct 09

How about salary packaging a big screen TV so I can (ahem) WORK from home and save on all those carbon emmissions getting to/from work.

eh_steve eh_steve 1:32 pm 27 Oct 09

Not a bad idea, one of the challenges in the ACT is that we have more people thahn anywhere else (probably) who salary sacrifice their personal car. You have to travel a certain amount of kilometres a year to make it viable, which emans you pretty much have to drive to work. Even then, many people take a trip to wollongong for no other reason than racking up ks, so of course it’s hard to get people on the bus.

AG Canberra AG Canberra 1:24 pm 27 Oct 09

We proposed a few years ago that the Dept buy Action’s ten trip passes and sell them at cost to employees. It got knocked on the head due to FBT considerations. Why would any gov support this proposal when salary packaging foces you to drive large numbers of kays to make it viable.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 1:15 pm 27 Oct 09

I didn’t see anything in the story that said the package options would be restricted to pulblic servants with arts graduates. It would make sense to be so restrictive and exclude the majority of public servants (ie those with law, commerce or science degrees).

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