The concentration of C02 in the atmosphere has risen by 25% in my 56 years. If I make it to 2020, CO2 will have risen by 33% in my lifetime. Carbon emissions growth at that rate is unsustainable, so we will all have to do our bit to cut emissions. MKbeyond2020 is my contribution to creating a sustainable future.

I have appealed the granting of a Planning Permit to DIER by Kingborough Council for the construction of the Kingston Bypass. The hearing date is 16 Dec 2009 in the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal (RMPAT) in Tasmania. By coincidence, that is the week of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

What is the Kingston Bypass?

It is a 2 km extension to the Southern Outlet south of Hobart to cost $42 million. Its purpose is to solve traffic congestion inconvenience for Kingborough commuters, most of whom are single occupant motorists or parents taking a child to school. It is a nightmare to get out of the Whitewater Creek area of Summerleas Road during the morning peak and most people who are caught up in the daily traffic congestion will tell you that we’ve got to have the Kingston Bypass.

The Labor Government has scraped the barrel to fund it and the Liberal Opposition support it. Only the Greens have declared their opposition to it. On the face of it, it is a done deal. But is it a sound investment in the future transport needs of Kingborough? To discover that, we have to go back to the Kingston and Environs Transport Study (KETS) of 2005. At the time, the State Government announced that KETS would take a holistic approach to investigating traffic and transport issues in Kingston and environs, but it ended up being primarily a traffic study and only recommended traffic solutions. However, it did identify a range of non-Bypass options which would have involved improving the Summerleas Road roundabout on Channel Highway.

Climate Change Impact

In 2005, climate change impact did not rate a mention. The word ‘sustainable’ was most commonly used in the phrase ‘sustainable development’. Even though the first push to curb carbon emissions began back in the 1980s, somehow it got pushed into the dark recesses of public and political consciousness for almost 20 years. In 1953 (when I was born), CO2 in the atmosphere was about 310 ppm. In 1990 it was 350 ppm. Now it is 390 ppm. By 2020 it will be 410 ppm unless the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen can inspire the international community to prevent it.

Australia is in the league of the worst per capita CO2 polluters in the world. Kingborough with its car-centric and spread-out energy-hungry “This close to Perfect” life style is up there with the worst of the planet’s offenders. As development gobbles up more and more agricultural land in Kingborough, the question really ought to asked; “What happens when the squeeze gets applied to carbon emissions by the international community and Peak Oil begins to bite?”

State Election Issue

Why pick on Kingborough? Simple. Kingborough is the epitome of unsustainability and the Kingston Bypass in Kingborough presents a unique opportunity to advance the cause of sustainable transport.

Kingborough is in the State seat of Franklin. Sitting members include the Greens leader Nick McKim (anti-Bypass) and Liberal leader Will Hodgman (pro-Bypass). Somewhere in between the two sits Labor, quietly talking up its climate-friendly credentials but not wanting to get too far out of step with public opinion. If the Planning Permit for the Kingston Bypass is thrown out by RMPAT, then the Kingston Bypass could become an election issue on sustainable transport.

What is the alternative to the Kingston Bypass? Good question. A viable sustainable alternative has never been developed and costed. The only thing that is reasonably certain is that the Kingston Bypass is unlikely to be required after 2020 as deep cuts to carbon emissions and Peak Oil dictate the future of all our lives. If it takes 3 years to build, you’d be lucky to get a few years out of it. That makes is a poor return on investment of $42 million.

Move Kingborough Beyond 2020

I am convening the ‘MKbeyond2020’ advocacy group to develop a voice around the theme of sustainable transport in Kingborough up to the Tasmanian State Election on March 20. Legal and expert witness could cost up to $20,000 and guarantors or sponsors must be found to cover this.

The broader objectives of Mkbeyond2020 together with details of the appeal against granting the Planning Permit for the Kingston Bypass have been posted on We welcome your feedback and we will take a close look at all comments.

The Kingston Bypass appeal will be the focus of attention up to Christmas.

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