United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Statement by Australia during the thematic discussion on Transport
(1 March 2011)
Thank you Mr Chairman
As has been highlighted this morning, sustainable transport plays a central role
in meeting the needs of today?s society, as well as those of future generations,
and Australia welcomes the discussion of the issues and options in this
important area.
Transport plays a crucial role in Australia?s economy, given our geographical
size, the distance between population centres, resources and ports, and the fact
that we are an island continent.
It is clear there is a range of policy options that can be used to enhance the
sustainability of transport activities. In considering these options, safety,
security, efficiency, cost effectiveness and the environment are all important
considerations. Australia notes the framework used in the Secretary General?s
report for categorizing policy options. Importantly, this framework provides
useful direction while allowing countries flexibility to select approaches that are
appropriate to their national circumstances.
There is a range of approaches being taken in Australia towards the goals of
avoiding unnecessary transport and shifting towards those that are more
sustainable and less carbon intensive.
As in many other countries, responsibility for urban infrastructure and planning
in Australia lies largely with state and local governments. However, the
Australian Government is taking a greater role in urban infrastructure planning
and future funding in these areas will be based on assessment of city planning
against criteria including on environmental and social issues.
The Australian Government has also initiated development of a national urban
policy, aimed at ensuring the longer term productivity, sustainability and
liveability of our major cities. This will include a focus on improving transport
options and, where feasible, reducing our dependence on private vehicles.
Investments in public transport can support sustainable development goals by
helping address urban passenger vehicle emissions and lowering the costs ?
including social and economic costs ? of traffic congestion. The Australian
Government has invested significantly in urban passenger rail, including funding
for metropolitan rail projects in our capital cities, towards these ends.
Raising efficiency standards and building consumer awareness of the impacts
of transport choices are two further contributions to the goal of improving the
efficiency and sustainability of transport systems. As an example, a web-based
Green Vehicle Guide (GVG) provides information on the safety, fuel economy
and emissions of vehicles entering the Australian market. Mandatory fuel
consumption and emissions labeling also applies to all new vehicles, and
mandatory CO2 emissions standards will apply to new light vehicles from 2015.
Many delegations have highlighted the importance of addressing greenhouse
gas emissions from the transport sector. Australia shares these views. The
Australian Government considers introduction of a carbon price through a
market-based mechanism with broad sectoral coverage (including transport) to
be the best policy approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the
Mr Chairman, as has already been highlighted this morning, no single policy
approach can achieve a step change in the sustainability of the transport sector.
A suite of policies across the categories in the Secretary General?s report, and
appropriate to countries? circumstances will be important in bringing about the
desired economic, social and environmental improvements.
Thank you Mr Chairman