A new poll of over 2,000 Australians released today reveals that eight in 10 believe governments should invest more in public transport, with seven in 10 keen to see Australia’s entire bus fleet electrified and run on renewables as soon as possible.
The People and Transport National Poll 2022, commissioned by the Climate Council and conducted by YouGov, also found that more than two-thirds of Australians think governments should deliver more footpaths and bike lanes across the country.
Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said: “A cleaner, more efficient and affordable transport system is what Australians want and it’s also crucial for our climate.
“Transport is Australia’s fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions and our country’s second biggest source of climate pollution.
“Seeing more Australians choose public transport, walking and bike-riding – alongside the switch to electric vehicles (EVs) – is essential to cut costs for households and drive down Australia’s emissions.”
The poll comes as momentum is gathering to get more EVs onto Australia’s roads by introducing new Fuel Efficiency Standards. Together, these actions chart a clear course to decarbonising our transport fleet.
The survey which polled 2,163 Australians aged 18 to over 65 also found that:
- 7 in 10 (70%) Australians agree we should electrify our public bus fleets as quickly as possible, manufacture them here, and power them with our sun and wind.
- When it comes to walking and/or riding a bike to get around, people would most like to see governments invest in building more dedicated bike lanes separated from car traffic (52%) and establishing more connected networks of footpaths and bike lanes (47%).
- Latest figures show all Australian state governments currently allocate less than 2 percent of their transport budgets to footpaths and bike lanes. In every state surveyed – Qld, NSW, Vic and SA – a majority (60%) of poll respondents believe this is not enough.
- In New South Wales and Victoria, eight in 10 agree that the government should invest more in public transport. In Queensland and South Australia that figure is more than seven in 10.
- NSW has the highest support (73%) for electric buses powered by renewables.
- Queensland has the highest support (66%) for increased investment in bike lanes and footpaths, with close to 85 percent agreeing it would improve the state’s walking and bike-riding options.
Australians who commute to work using public transport can save over $8,000 a year compared with exclusively driving a car. For those who can bike or walk, the savings are close to $12,000.
Climate Council Head of Advocacy, Dr Jennifer Rayner said: “Investing in public transport and infrastructure for walking and bike-riding is much more popular than governments may realise.
“Australians know leaving the car at home can deliver cheaper commutes, healthier streets and reduced emissions for a cleaner environment. Now we need the investment to back up that choice so it’s easy and convenient for people to move around in cheaper, cleaner ways.”
The Climate Council is calling for Australian states and territories to:
- Allocate at least half of their transport budgets to public transport and 20 percent to initiatives that boost walking and bike-riding in line with best practice and the community’s needs.
- Encourage private electric bike uptake through discounts at point of sale and government-funded try-before-you-buy programs.
- Convert state and territory bus fleets to clean, quiet and zero-emission buses.
For interviews please contact Brianna Hudson on 0455 238 875 or Jane Gardner on 0438 130 905
The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.
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