Action for Public Transport (N.S.W.) Inc.
|P O Box K606
|Haymarket NSW 1240
|16 December 2016
Climate Change and Resource Efficiency Policy Branch
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
PO Box A290
Sydney South NSW 1232
Environmental Future Consultation
Submission in response to plans of November 2016
Action for Public Transport (NSW) is a transport advocacy group, which has been active in Sydney since 1974. We promote the interests of beneficiaries of public transport: passengers and the wider community.
We refer to the NSW Government's new Climate Change Policy Framework (http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/Climate-change/Policy-framework) which sets two objectives:
- achieving net zero emissions by 2050
- NSW being more resilient to a changing climate
We can see many avenues for improving NSW's handling of climate change which we set out below, even though some of them are not directly related to transport.
For your convenience, we follow the numbering scheme of your submissions form.
1. Accelerating advanced energy
- Getting more Sydney houses fitted with PV generators See the attached aerial photograph of house roofs in Hamersley WA which shows what Perth has achieved with sunshine comparable to Sydney's. The photograph shows a worthwhile proportion of houses with some PV generators. Importantly, there is room for still more PV generators, even on houses which already have some. Power costs seem to be rising while PV panels are getting cheaper. The government should encourage NSW residents to install PV generators where possible although not by offering unrealistically high feed-in rates.
- Energy storage Similarly, the NSW Government should seek ways to encourage the wide deployment of storage systems (batteries, supercaps etc) which would allow households to have their own solar energy available round the clock most days.
- Vehicles The Government should encourage the spread of vehicles which are able to run on stored electricity. The same vehicles are mentioned below in the context of energy-efficient city planning.
2. National leadership in energy efficiency
Many recent transport and/or land-use decisions in New South Wales run contrary to best practice. For political or other reasons, many projects go against energy efficiency. While the most obvious is WestConnex, which stands to encourage road traffic, it is not alone.
There is a fundamental contradiction in NSW's transport policies. Simultaneously, the Government sets out both to reduce road congestion (invariably by expanding road space) and to develop public transport. These policies conflict, because increasing road space encourages private car use, depriving public transport of passengers whose fares help make the transport service viable.
- Energy-efficient inter-city transport The Government should aim to take passengers out of aeroplanes and put them on rails. This will require faster rail services, both from faster trains (like Queensland's tilt trains) and faster tracks (e.g. re-align the southern railway between Menangle and Mittagong).
- Getting long-distance freight onto rail instead of road As has been stated many times, taxing regimes must be altered so that road transport pays its way. And freight railways must be improved; a new inland line between Melbourne and Brisbane has been mooted. It should be built - it would keep freight and passenger trains out of each others' way. Large energy savings are attainable by putting long-distance freight onto trains however the trains must be competitive in speed, cost and efficiency with road.
- Improving urban public transport The transformation of Sydney into a multi-centred metropolis in which trips tend to be confined to a single region should happen sooner rather than later.
- Energy-efficient transport policies The Government should create regimes of insurance and government charges based on vehicle usage rather than ownership. Modern tolling systems can be used to measure vehicle usage.
- Energy-efficient city planning The Government should aim for city structures that reduce the need for long road trips, by putting jobs and other popular destinations within easy reach of homes, with the result that many trips currently made in family cars could instead be in light vehicles.
3. Preparing for a changing climate
- Education Members of the public need to understand what climate change is, what it is doing and what it is expected to do in the future. They also need to know what they should do about it. This information must be presented to them in a way that does not become a battleground for political vote-winning.
- Water In areas where storm activity with heavy rainfalls is expected to increase some transport routes might need flood-proofing e.g. the Richmond railway.