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State of the Service & Environment Sacrifice

By Georges 27 January 2010 44

Thanks to the generosity of federal government conditions of service,  many permanent Canberra employees are currently entitled to salary sacrifice provisions by maximising the entitlement in the form of  acquiring their own motor vehicle.

Now here’s the environmental rub.  An incentive exists for those entitled to this condition of service to reside a long way from their place of work.  By taking full advantage of owning, maintaining and running a vehicle for thousands of kilometres per year, this is at direct and great cost to our environment.   In any case the incentive is not fincancially successful for owners unless thousands and thousands of kilometres are completed on our roads.

For goodness sake of our environment and ever diminishing energy availability, this condition of service caper should be thwarted henceforth.

What to the the Australian Greens have to say about this please?


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State of the Service & Environment Sacrifice
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Georges 7:58 pm 02 Feb 10

‘The encouragement to drive is more subtle than that, though aimless driving does happen for the exact purpose of building kms. This I have witnessed, primarily as someone nears the end of the FBT year and is a few thousand KMS from the next rate.

….but the incentive to use the car to get there is stronger than the incentive not to.’

Thanks harley.

The point of this post is a condition of service at the behest of our environment, albeit public or private sector. Since the post included the words ‘state of the service’, many contributors assumed an assertion towards & against current public sector policy – not necessarily so. Your views are most enlightening harley & they indeed hold sway. Good on you for your efforts. Georges

harley 2:54 pm 31 Jan 10

The encouragement to drive is more subtle than that, though aimless driving does happen for the exact purpose of building kms. This I have witnessed, primarily as someone nears the end of the FBT year and is a few thousand KMS from the next rate.

The problem is the short trips are being performed by fossil-fuel burning motor vehicles rather than sustainable transport.

Take the assumption that an employee (the word I used in most of my previous posts) anually drives 14,999 kms commuting to work, and on work-required transport. That’s 30kms each way, so any employee working in civic and commuting from an outlying suburb.

They also do local things like shopping, kids to and from school & sport, visiting friends etc. Some of these trips could be undertaken on foot, or on a bike. But, if they do them in the leased car, they get the lower tax, and a small financial benefit. It’s the chewbacca defense. It makes no sense.

I live next to an oval. Every weekend there is a steady stream of cars unloading people and dogs who run around for a bit, then get back in their cars and drive home. I don’t know where these people come from, or why they need their cars to get here, but I can’t see that they all need to drive the distance. Sure, some would, but they might have an off-leash area closer to them that they could walk to. I don’t pretend they are all leased vehicles, either. I’m not quoting figures, facts or statistics. I’m voicing an opinion.

In my opinion, the lowering of tax revenue combined with the increase in take-home pay for producing more carbon is contrary to the government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

Personally, I don’t lease as I’d rarely get over the 10,000kms mark and can’t justify it. And I’m not a greenie in any way shape or form. I will happily pay for my carbon credits or tax or whatever we do to maintain my fossil fuel buring lifestyle. I just think that FBT on motor vehicles is arse-backwards is all.

I am in no way arguing that employees with leased vehicles should not use them for whatever the hell they want. I don’t care if they drive their car from the back door to the outhouse, or from the work carpark to the lunch shop across the street. It’s a free world. I just object to people getting PAID to do it, no matter how small the benefit.

Finally – in direct response to your request. What you suggest is possible, but it’s equally possible these employees were going to do these “useful” things anyway, but the incentive to use the car to get there is stronger than the incentive not to.

Pandy 10:43 am 31 Jan 10

Harley, please agree with me that then, that “pubes and civialians” (your words) would actually be doing something useful with their lives, instead of sitting at home watching TV, if they had to drive an extra 3 hours per week.

harley 8:57 pm 30 Jan 10

Pandy said :

Really Harely? If the pubes did not have to drive the extra 3 hours per week, they would just sit at home. A least they would drive out to the theatre, visit the beach, go for a coffee if they had to drive. Pubes do not just drive aound aimlessly you know.

Please don’t put words in my mouth. I never said “aimlessly” or “pubes only”.

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