– by Sarah Cole
How considerate, Transperth. You’re going to put us up for the day to celebrate the repeal of the Carbon Tax! That’s festive.
Now, perhaps you are innocently extending this gesture as a business giving its customers a break after fare hikes in response to the Tax; yet, something about it stinks. This cheerful announcement strikes me — and many others, it seems — as having a curiously political spin.
The repeal of the Carbon Tax is nothing we should be celebrating. Australia has notoriously become one of the world’s most irresponsible polluters, and our federal government’s head-in-the-sand, “absolute crap” attitude to climate change is embarrassing on a international level. Your happy announcement is going to spread the idea that the Carbon Tax was a burden we never should have shouldered, making it clear which side you’re pegging onto.
Public transport is touted as the environmentally friendly option for travel, but you are still quite the polluter, and responded to your share of the Tax by increasing ticket prices. You imply you’re on the commuter’s side with this celebration, but fares aren’t going to fully return to pre-Tax rates, and you won’t comment on how much this free day will cost you?
There are more than a few Perth people, young and old, who are grossed out with your cheery attitude. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, even a couple of overheard coffee shop conversations, have revealed that we’d prefer Transperth to behave more climate aware, rather than hand out poor compensation gestures. When teenagers and retirees alike are calling it out as propaganda or a joke, you have something hypocritical enough to be a uniting issue.
As everybody crams themselves into those carriages on Monday, I hope they’re not blinkered by the word free – your generous event is a pretty clear distraction from the bigger issue: that you’re happy to ride the green transport image as long as it doesn’t actually cost you.