urban creature: No jobs on a dead planet

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
No jobs on a dead planet
The Kyoto Protocol comes into force tomorrow. It is deeply shameful that my own country hasn't ratified this agreement - especially considering the concessions that were made just for us.

So in the spirit of Kyoto, I thought I'd float some eco-ideas out there in cyberspace. These are just ideas - debateable, questionable and even possibly quite silly... but float them I will...

IDEA 1: Capping Car Registrations

It seems a little silly to have an ever increasing amount of cars on the road. Surely if we set a limit to just how many can be registered, then people will most likely share cars or find alternative (and more sustainable means of travel). Obviously cars that use miniscule amounts of fuel or are completely fuel-free would be given priority or possibly be exempt from this cap. Priority for registration should also be given to those facing the most hardship too (e.g. those living far from (decent) public transport services, those who work out of normal business hours, those who are caring for others, etc.

Less cars on the road also equals less road trauma (providing driver training and safetly initiatives remain at the same level), less congestion and may actually lead to better economic outcomes. Fuel would be cheaper since demand would be down and, if eco-friendly cars are given priority or are exempt from the cap, then demand for these vehicles would obviously increase.

IDEA 2: Public Transport Tax Concessions

I've always thought it silly that businesses that give their employees cars and parking spaces as part of their employment packages actually get some sort of benefit from it. Obviously there is incentive for them far beyond enticing more talented people into their company. I may be wrong, however.

Regardless of this, why can't businesses get tax concessions for giving their employees public transport tickets as part of their employment packages? Add to this the employee's opportunity to claim public transport use (even outside of working hours) as a tax deduction if they personally had bought the tickets.

IDEA 3: Provide Better Public Transport

Simple. If all public transport modes run frequent enough, throughout the entire city up to at least midnight, then people will more likely use it. Twenty-four hour public transport is viable in large cities like Melbourne and Sydney.

IDEA 4: Free Grey Water Re-use Systems for Concession Card Holders

These machines basically make grey water (i.e. from your washing machine, kitchen sink, shower, basin, etc) back into drinkable water. While providing these free for concession card holders, it would be beneficial to increase the cost of water in order to encourage others to re-use grey water too.

IDEA 5: Tax Environmentally Harmful Goods More

We have a consumption-based tax which can be used more effectively to encourage people to buy products that are more environmentally responsible. Meat should at least have GST attached to it - plus a green tax of an additional 10% (possibly more if you buy that meat in a burger from McDonalds). I might be biased here as a vegetarian but surely there are better ways of using our remaining arable land than by using it for cattle grazing.

  Scribbled by urban creature @ 10:41 pm - [Permanent Link]

At 11:10 pm, Anonymous Chris said...

Hi Aaron,

Some neat ideas - did you read that the Great Barrier Reef could be dead in as little as twenty years?

Some thoughts on your ideas:

1. Capping Car Regos - how about higher taxes for larger cars such as 4WDs? Also, taxing per kilometre driven, i.e. increased petrol taxes.. not very popular with the electorate but maybe more palatable if combined with an equivalent income tax cut.

2. This could surely be done presently, I suppose it would work best for city office workers, mainly due to the limitations of the present PT system. I believe these benefits, although coming from pre-income tax salary incur Fringe Benefits Tax; so i'm not sure what you mean about a company getting concessions on them.

3. I'd like to see some minimal service run through the night, using regular tickets (so you don't need to buy a special Night Rider ticket). Even just the odd bus would be a god-send. Actually for all our complaining, compared to many other cities, we have a pretty good PT system here (although the outer suburbs don't fare so well...)

4. Alternatively, rain water needs very minimal processing for use on gardens/toilet flushing etc. I saw last week on the ABC a system where tanks are mounted in the walls/floor/roof of the house, saving space etc and giving the added bonus of providing some thermal mass to regulate the temperature.

5. In theory the GST is meant to be a flat tax on all consumption, not a means to penalise certain forms of consumption: I think the goal should ultimately be to price goods such that the cost of undoing the damage they cause is factored into the purchase price, this would drastically change our comsumption patterns and be a significant step towards a 'zero-footprint' on the planet, or at least our little corner of it. Let me elaborate what I mean by 'price', I think in Germany if you buy a car, the car company has to pay for its disposal, including all recycling etc, so the cost of disposal is obviously factored into the purchase price of the car. I think this worthwhile concept could be applied in many ways, i.e: manufactures' subsidising some third party recycling centre etc.

Re Macca's: I guess it would have to be taxed less, as there is less meat in it :P

At 11:37 pm, Blogger urban creature said...

Thanks Chris.

For some reason Blogger is displaying this article twice. *grumbles*

The purpose behind (1) was not to penalise people for using their cars - rather for using their cars for unnecessary trips. Taxing per kilometre would ultimately disadvantage country drivers and those living in the outer suburban areas with poor public transport services. It is these people who are most pissed off with escalating fuel prices and would be incredibly annoyed with additional taxes. Saying to the electorate - this is physically how many cars the city and the environment can cope with, and regardless of your income, it will be hardship that determines your capability to register your car, or else buy a car that is more eco-friendly and the cap won't matter. Obviously this would need to be reviewed in the medium- to long-term.

The other idea is to have part-time registration - i.e. you can only drive your car on weekends, out of peak times or on certain days of the week, and these times would be clearly visible on your rego sticker. Policing of this might be a little difficult though - although with the amount of pissed off motorists who aren't able to register their car out there, a dob in line would work most effectively.

At 3:12 am, Blogger Andy B said...

Hi there. Came across your blog while farting around.

The idea of 24 hour transport isn't such a bad idea, however I don't think it's really possible in current conditions.

I'm a tram driver in Melbourne, and agree in principle with the idea of overnight services, however the following points need to be considered (I'm basing all this on Melbourne's system):

1. Agreed that if it is provided, people will use it. However, to make it worthwhile, people need to actually buy tickets and treat the system with some kind of respect.

2. The amount of support and behind the scenes staff the transport network requires is enormous. If there is a tram on the road, you need a console operator in the control room, another in a mobile car to attend in the event of a problem, mechanics/breakdown crews (these operate 24 hours anyway, but use the overnight time to repair trams at depots in time for the morning), and a supervisor at the depot. The case for trains isn't so bad, as most support staff are present 24/7 anyway.

3. Security for staff (drivers) is most important. There aren't too many people around at 4am, and if you are having the crap beaten out of you there won't be too many people to come assist you.

4. Drivers need to be compensated accordingly. Many have families, social lives, etc, and the idea of working overnight isn't really appealing.

I worked overnight on NYE, from 19.00 until 31.00 (7am), and personally quite enjoyed it as it worked well with my lifestyle, forgetting the fact I was working when I'd rather be out getting pissed.

During the Commonwealth Games, we'll be running 24 hour transport for the duration. I've put my hand up to do the overnight shifts already. The union hasn't agreed to it yet, but will on the proviso we get looked after in terms of pay.

At 2:36 pm, Blogger Quit Smoking said...

Having discovered your blog through the blooger toolbar, I hope you don't mind saying that I have a ebooks site/blog. It pretty much covers ebooks related stuff. Check it out if you have time.


Post a Comment

<< Home

About Me
Name: Aaron Hewett
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Contact Me
aaron [at] myrealbox.com


www Urban Creature

Powered by Google

Other Projects
Lanes of Melbourne

Previous Posts
Billy does Wonder Woman
King Charles?
Bound but not gagged
Have your photo taken with Billy
Lanes Project: Bumper Issue!
Billy waits for the train
IKEA Hilarity
Billy becomes an Australia Day cliche
Silly Righties
Billy goes to Midsumma

Links & Blogroll

Billy Cartoons

Would you like your photo taken with Billy? Simply email me a photo of yourself (leaving enough room for Billy to be inserted). You can make it look like you're hugging him, shaking his hand, whatever. However, what Billy is doing and what he is wearing will ultimately be up to me to decide.
Send your pics in today!

In A Mood Designs
315 DPI


Powered by Blogger

Listed on Blogwise

Listed on Aussieblogs.org

Subscribe with Bloglines

Melbourne | Blogs

Site Feed

visitors since 5 July 2004

eXTReMe Tracker

Google Ads

Blog Ads
Promote your blog for free.