Transport is a fundamental element of the social and economic life of South Gippsland. As a region located one-to-two hours from Melbourne, with a scattered population across multiple small towns and settlements, reliance on private vehicles for transport and commercial vehicles for goods and services is well established.
Transport is the second biggest greenhouse gas (GHG) contributor in Victoria, making up 20% of total emissions. While providing access to health, food, education, employment, recreational activities and markets, the transport sector negatively affects our environment through its predominant use of non‐renewable energy.
Changing the ways in which people and commerce move, away from high-carbon to low-carbon modes of transport, will be a key element of any Just Transition for the region. Relatively high distances are travelled by car per person, and viable alternatives to driving are limited. However, as electrification of private and commercial vehicles, and the introduction of a reliable, and electrified, public transport system, will not only reduce our carbon footprint, but increase the quality of life for residents, particularly low-income earners, youth and the elderly.
A significant increase in reliable, sustainable public transport for inter and intra-regional travel would allow people more flexibility to own fewer vehicles and drive less. Car ownership can also be reduced through the provision of car-leasing services for when “out-of-region” travel is required. A return of sustainable rail services connecting the region to Melbourne would contribute substantially to reducing the environmental impact of travel and freight, while making the region a more viable destination for people who are no longer as tied to city-based work post-COVID. Extensive, reliable and affordable IT infrastructure can reduce social travel, while e-commerce can reduce shopping trips.
A guarantee of sustainable transport services and access for all social groups should underpin an effective transport strategy for a Just Transition.
Transport is central to our lives and to our economy. Identifying and considering strategies for how transport systems can be shaped and controlled as part of a successful Just Transition for southern Gippsland will be the task of the Transport Working Group.
Southern Gippsland spans Bunurong and Gunai-Kurnai country. We acknowledge that this land is unceded and pay respects to Elders past, present and emerging. A just transition is one that allows for First Nations sovereignty.
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