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Get a new bike from $50 per week

Public servants to go green

By 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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Public servants to go green
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I planted 8 tree to offset the carbon that I breathe out.

Now I’m off to do some burnouts…

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 11:38 pm 27 Oct 09

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

Chop71 10:39 pm 27 Oct 09

Can I carbon offset the bubbles in my beer?

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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?

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