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Infrastructure and Transport – Transport Emissions

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 6 June 2023

Tags: Transport, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - Okay, thank you, minister. There are no new programs for transport decarbonisation in the Budget. Given our continuing increased emissions, in order to reach our net zero by 2030 target we need to decarbonise the transport sector and I am sure you agree with that -


Ms O'CONNOR - at a rational person's level. Climate Tasmania's recent report shows there are a number of policies in place across states and territories to incentivise electric vehicle uptake and that we are falling behind here. We are the only state or territory without a purchase price incentive like a subsidy rebate or loan, which on the evidence is the most effective way of increasing the uptake of electric vehicles. Minister, where are the policies for reducing transport emissions in the Budget and how does this Budget show that the Government is serious about decarbonising Tasmania?

Mr FERGUSON - Thanks, Ms O'Connor. In fact, at a whole-of-government level, the Government has been tackling opportunities and challenges in this space. We will be able to speak to departmental level initiatives. Gary has quite few here that we will be able to speak to in a moment, not just about emissions but also about sustainability more generally, including the better use of waste materials in the roads that we build, for example, and extracting value for the waste.

In my colleague minister Jaensch's portfolio space, he has a specific initiative around sector plans for decarbonisation and reducing emissions and transport is the first of the industries that will be involved in that. We will not be forcing industry to cut emissions, we will not be penalising them, but we will be working with the industry and looking for opportunities to work together to reduce emissions, as the state continues to do very well in our targeted net zero position.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, Tasmanian Forest Agreement.

Mr FERGUSON - We're in a strong position, in large part, because of our renewable energy credentials.

Ms O'CONNOR - No, don't misrepresent the data.

CHAIR - Ms O'Connor, please let the minister answer.

Ms O'CONNOR - But he's misleading the committee.

CHAIR - Ms O'Connor, thank you.

Mr FERGUSON - I really don't think I am but I look forward to further information -

Ms O'CONNOR - I'll help you. It's in the Climate Change Action Plan.

CHAIR - Ms O'Connor, please let the minister answer your question.

Mr FERGUSON - I feel it's very self-evident that a state whose electrical energy needs are provided by renewable power would be a fairly reasonable point to be making.

Ms O'CONNOR - What happened in 2013?

Mr FERGUSON - We are well ahead of other states who would dream to have such renewable energy credentials.

Ms O'CONNOR - And forests like ours.

Mr FERGUSON - I will pass to Gary to provide the detail but meanwhile I will bring up some more detail on what my colleague minister is doing in the transport sector space as well.

Mr SWAIN - In relation to the transport sector plan, we are working closely with ReCFIT to support the development of that sector plan. What we have started to do is deal with a stocktake across the activities of the department to look at everything we're doing in relation to sustainability.

Ms O'CONNOR - You've just started it?

Mr SWAIN - No, we've been doing that for about a year and there has been a lot of initiatives that go beyond that, but we've been pulling that together for a specific reason, which is that Austroads is doing a similar exercise across all jurisdictions in Australia. All jurisdictions have different initiatives at different levels of maturity and we would like to leverage off some of that work. Some of the things that we are already doing is looking at the use of crumbed rubber in the state road maintenance program, which Denise could probably talk to with better authority than me -

Ms O'CONNOR - That's all right, I've read the background. I'm just helping the committee not waste more time.

CHAIR - Ms O'Connor, I know that you are a very passionate person but can you please refrain from interrupting the minister and his staff when they're trying to answer a question for you, please?

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, Chair. Sometimes it needs to be a conversation but I respect your request.

CHAIR - Thank you.

Mr SWAIN - There's a whole range of different initiatives we're working through at the moment and some are in the use of the networks, so obviously the mode shift work we are doing in [inaudible] in particular is germane to this. Some are in the way that the network is built. There is some work Infrastructure Australia has done to suggest that up to 25 per cent of the material that goes into roads could be low carbon. Austroads is going to pick up where Infrastructure Australia stopped and look at whether that can be operationalised - built into standards and what have you. Certainly, we are thinking about climate change in relation to the network resilience and network planning work that the minister was talking about previously.

Ms O'CONNOR - That is fine Mr Swain, I am happy enough with that. If that is a document that would benefit the committee.

Mr SWAIN - This is an internal document and we haven't provided it as advice to the minister so I would like the opportunity to provide the minister with some advice first.

Ms O'CONNOR - My final question is, what is the time frame on the work that the agency will be doing with Mr Jaensch's team to have a transport decarbonisation strategy in place?

Mr FERGUSON - I will answer that for the committee. I have been able to locate Mr Jaensch's own work on this and I suggest you to raise it with him so that I am not speaking across his portfolio.

The minister and his team have a $10 million fund for new actions. Of that $10 million, there is $1.2 million in financial incentives for the uptake of electric vehicles, e-bikes and e-scooters. He goes on to discuss - consistent with my earlier answer - and I quote:

We will also work with business and industry to develop emissions reduction and resilience plans for the transport, waste, energy, industrial, agriculture and forestry sectors, with $2.3 million allocated for implementation of the transport plan due to be completed by the end of this year.

Mr Jaensch will be leading this work, but he will be working with the stakeholders that we engage with on a daily basis. We will be doing everything we can to see that emissions and reduction resilience plan is successful for industry as well as for our climate aspirations.