Climate Council names NSW Australia’s “Public Transport Powerhouse”, urges electrification of fleets

Climate Council

NEW SOUTH WALES has been crowned as Australia’s Public Transport Powerhouse according to new analysis by the Climate Council tracking overall state and territory transport emissions.

The state now has an unmissable opportunity to cement its place as one of the top-performing states on cleaner and cheaper transport, if it sets an earlier target for electrifying its transport fleets.

The state has recorded impressive public transport usage. Around 14 percent of people in NSW commute to work by public transport, leading all other states and territories.

But the Climate Council would like to see NSW fast-track electrification of the state’s public transport fleets. While the target to electrify all New South Wales buses is welcome, its current timeline of 2047 should be brought forward to 2035 and applied to all public transport.

Rankings – Most to Least Progress1

1. ACT (Clean All-Rounder award)

2. NSW (Public Transport Powerhouse award)

3. Equal third place TAS (Emissions Slasher award) and VIC (People Powered award)

5. SA (Charging Ahead award)

6. QLD (Fleet Footed award)

7. WA (High Hurdler award)

8. NT (Active Mover award)

Transport emissions per person, as tCO2e (Tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent):

1. ACT – 1.65

2, TAS – 1.69

3. NSW – 1.85

4. VIC – 1.89

5. SA – 2.00

6. NT – 2.30

7. QLD – 2.31

8. WA – 2.43

How NSW scores:

  • Transport emissions per person (tCO2e)2: 1.85

  • Leading: Public transport uptake

  • Lagging: Electric vehicle chargers per person

Climate Council Head of Advocacy Dr Jennifer Rayner said: “Cleaning up transport is a huge priority as we work towards getting emissions plummeting this decade. What’s at stake here isn’t just a race between Australia’s states and territories, it’s a race against the devastating effects of fossil fuel emissions on our climate.

“New South Wales is going strong on public transport. Accelerating the electrification of its entire public transport fleet will help to keep its spot as a powerhouse in this area.

“Australians want clean transport options that are accessible, reliable and better for our hip pockets and climate.

“This includes well-connected networks of footpaths and bike lanes, zero emissions public transport and affordable electric vehicles. State and Territory governments are putting their wheels in motion but our analysis shows they really need to hit the accelerator.”

The Climate Council’s People and Transport National Poll 2022 backs this up, finding

  • The majority (80%) of Australians believe governments should invest more in public transport

  • Almost three quarters (70%) are keen to see Australia’s entire bus fleet electrified and run on renewables as soon as possible.

  • More than two-thirds (over 67%) of Australians think governments should invest more in footpaths and bike lanes across the country.

Climate Councillor, energy expert and former President of BP Australasia, Greg Bourne said: “Transport is one of Australia’s fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and the sector is our third biggest source of climate pollution.

“There has been a lot of focus on electric vehicles recently, but we won’t achieve our climate targets or address broader challenges within the transport sector purely by replacing dirty petrol cars with electric ones.

“Investment in clean public transport and making our towns and cities pedestrian and bicycle-friendly must also be part of the solution. This will deliver huge benefits for our health, hip pockets and the liveability of our communities – as well as being better for the climate.

“States and territories must step up on clean transport policies to help Australians free themselves from expensive, polluting fossil fuels.”

Read Are we there yet? Clean Transport Scorecard

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