Public transport overlooked as a green solution

By: Jason Whittaker


The Federal Government is not doing enough to support the public transport sector as an environmentally positive industry, the Senate

The Federal Government is not doing enough to support the public transport sector as an environmentally positive industry, the Senate heard last week.

The Australian Greens transport spokesman Scott Ludlam told the Senate the government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) – its emissions trading scheme – would not go close to driving change in the public’s transport habits.

"One of the more perverse impacts of this package of bills relates to the way that public transport will be disadvantaged relative to private cars," he says.

"By including buses as public transport vehicles in the heavy vehicle categorisation, the legislation fails to recognise the bus industry’s unique status within the heavy vehicle sector as an environmentally positive industry that provides a practical travel alternative to the car."

The removal of the proposed cent-for-cent compensation for fuel price increases as a result of the CPRS will increase public transport operating costs, Ludlam says.

"This is what the bus and coach industry are saying to us… the government’s centrepiece climate change legislation has been drafted to make public transport more expensive relative to private cars — and this is not really an accident; it is something that has been known for many months."

The vote on the CPRS has been delayed until August. The Bus Industry Confederation says the CPRS looks unlikely to pass through the Senate unless the government and opposition can come to an agreement and bypass the minor parties and independents, which look set to vote against the legislation.

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