, , ,

Federal road funding blows Geelong’s greenhouse budget

Geelong’s transport greenhouse gas emissions will rise even faster under proposals from both major parties to upgrade major roads instead of improving public transport, the Public Transport Users Association has warned.

Geelong Branch Convener Paul Westcott said both parties also risked making the region more vulnerable to high petrol prices by increasing dependence on cars, while still not providing any practical public transport alternatives to driving.

His warning came as Labor announced it would upgrade the capacity of the Princes Highway between Geelong and Winchelsea, bringing federal Labor’s total funding commitments for the region’s roads to $465 million. Neither major party has committed to fund improvements to the region’s public transport.

Mr Westcott said the absence of public transport commitments, combined with new road projects, will encourage people to drive longer distances, making it harder for the region to deal with higher petrol prices or move towards a low-carbon economy.

He said transport accounted for up to 49% of the average household’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.[1]

Transport is also one of the most significant generators of emissions growth in Australia, with passenger cars being the largest single transport source of greenhouse gases. Emissions from cars have increased by 25% between 1990 and 2005.[2]

Mr Westcott said the rail access improvements to Port of Geelong announced by both parties were welcome and could help to reduce greenhouse gases by taking some trucks off the road. However he said that the significant road expansion promised would undermine attempts to shift freight transport to rail.

Mr Westcott reiterated calls for a program of federal funding for public transport improvements, following the lead of countries like Canada and the United States. “Reducing greenhouse gases is clearly a matter of national interest, but the lack of practical steps to improve public transport indicates that neither of the two major parties is serious about tackling global warming,” he said.

[1] Australian Greenhouse Office / CSIRO: National Kilowatt Count of Household Energy Use, 2002.

[2] Australian Greenhouse Office, National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2005: Accounting for the 108% Target, 2007, p 7.

Road vs Rail/Public Transport Federal Funding

Geelong Ring Road Stages 1-3

$ 190 million (Existing fed. contribution)

Geelong Ring Road Extensions

$ 100 million (Labor pledge)

$ 45 million (Liberal pledge)

Princes Hwy Upgrade to Winchelsea

$ 175 million (Labor pledge)

TOTAL (Roads)

$ 235 million (Liberal)

$ 465 million (Labor)

Public Transport


Geelong Port Freight Rail improvements

$ 50 million (Labor pledge)

$ 80 million (Liberal pledge)

TOTAL (Rail/Public Transport)

$ 50 million (Labor)

$ 80 million (Liberal)

Contact the PTUA