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Tuesday, 5 June 2001
Page: 27336

Mr Murphy asked the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, upon notice, on 5 April 2001:

(1) Is he able to provide an analysis of the energy consumption and carbon dioxide levels of the transport sector.

(2) Has the transport sector had the highest rate of growth of carbon dioxide emissions in the Australian economy; if so, what is the cause of this rapid increase and what measures has the Government adopted to stem this growth.

(3) Has much of this increase come from the growth in road transport, in particular, road freight, that has taken place at the expense of rail transport.

(4) Is diesel hauled rail transport at least four times as energy efficient as road transport and consequently emits one quarter as much carbon dioxide per tonne-kilometre, as reported by the Australian Railway Association.

(5) Is electric railway haulage 40% more efficient again than diesel-hauled rail transport and emits even less carbon dioxide per tonne kilometre, as reported by international railway operators.

(6) Has he stated in the past that his first priority is for road transport and rail comes a distant second.

(7) Is it the policy of the Government to force down apparent transport costs by allowing the road freight industry to be carried by low paid owner drivers who can barely afford the cost of fuel let alone proper maintenance.

(8) Does the road transport industry receive subsidies in the form of free fuel, un-recovered road construction and repair costs and services that equals or exceeds 90% of their operating expenses, as reported by the Bureau of Transport Economics.

(9) If so, will the Government act to recover a higher proportion of these costs and so improve the competitiveness of the much more energy efficient railways.

(10) Is it a fact that (a) Federal funding has not been made available for the construction of new urban rail systems in NSW and (b) billions of dollars been made available or promised for the construction of new urban road works such as the Western Sydney Orbital.

(11) What is the estimate of the reductions in carbon dioxide emissions in kilograms per dollar invested resulting in improvements in travel efficiency for the Western Sydney Orbital compared with the proposed but un-funded Epping to Castle Hill Railway.

(12) Is he able to supply estimates for the quantity of carbon dioxide emitted for an equivalent distance travelled by a commuter using (a) a private car, (b) an electric train and (c) a bicycle.

Mr Anderson (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) (2), and (3) The National Greenhouse Gas Inventory contains the requested information. The Government has a range of measures in place or planned to address carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector as detailed in the answer to Question no 2522.

(4) Rail can be more energy efficient than road for some transport tasks eg long distance heavy freight. The Bureau of Transport Economics estimates that on average, rail produces one third of the carbon dioxide emissions of road freight per tonne kilometre.

(5) Electric railway haulage can produce considerably less carbon dioxide emissions than diesel-hauled rail transport, if either hydro or nuclear power is the source of the electricity. However, if the electricity is sourced from coal-powered generators, then emissions from electric rail haulage could be higher than those from diesel-hauled rail. Once generation and transmission are taken into account, carbon dioxide emissions per unit of energy can be considerably higher for electric rail than for diesel-powered rail.

(6) No.

(7) No.

(8) and (9) No. The Bureau of Transport Economics advises that none of its research suggest 90% under recovery.

(10a) The Commonwealth has a $250m mainline rail track upgrade program which is improving the performance of this key national infrastructure.

(10b) The Western Sydney Orbital (WSO) will be privately constructed and operated, and financed largely by a user toll. The Commonwealth will make a total contribution of $356m to the project.

(11) The WSO Environmental Impact Statement does not address the question of carbon dioxide reductions. The proposed Epping to Castle Hill Railway is the responsibility of the NSW Government.

(12) Current BTE estimates indicate that the fleet average performance for Australian cars is 250 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per passenger kilometre. Per passenger emissions from electric trains depends critically on the source of the electricity and load factor of the train, however, an average rate would be 120 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per passenger kilometre. Bicycle use generates no emissions.