Minimising the environmental impacts of the Victorian transport system has been a legislated objective since 2010, but the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure has not adequately addressed this when developing the state's strategic transport and land-use planning framework, according to this audit.
The environmental impacts of the Victorian transport system are significant and include the production of greenhouse gas emissions, other air pollution and noise.
Minimising these impacts has been a legislated objective since 2010, but it is clear that the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI) has not adequately addressed this when developing the state's strategic transport and land-use planning framework (the strategic framework)—consisting of Plan Melbourne, Victoria—The Freight State and the state's eight regional growth plans.
During the strategic framework's development, DTPLI did not provide the government with any advice:
- about how proposed strategies would address the environmental impacts of the transport system
- proposing defined statewide objectives or targets for reducing transport‑related greenhouse gases and other emissions and for limiting the effect of traffic noise.
In the absence of DTPLI developing a comprehensive monitoring and reporting framework with clearly defined expected environmental outcomes and performance measures, the framework currently remains aspirational in this regard.
Across the three agencies examined, VicRoads has the most comprehensive strategy for managing environmental impacts, and this is a model for what should exist on a portfolio-wide basis.
Public Transport Victoria (PTV), on the other hand, does not have a dedicated plan and its performance in this regard has declined since our 2012 audit, Public Transport Performance. Specifically, PTV did not progress options identified by the former Department of Transport on how to improve public transport's energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Further, the quality and availability of publicly-reported information on public transport's environmental performance has declined.