Rising fuel prices means no new roads should be built: Greens

By: Jason Whittaker


Greens’ spokeswoman on transport Lee Rhiannon is advocating an immediate moratorium on road spending after the price of oil hit

Greens’ spokeswoman on transport Lee Rhiannon is advocating an immediate moratorium on road spending after the price of oil hit a record high $133.58 barrel.

According to Rhiannon, spiralling fuel costs demand urgent action, such as scrapping road transport infrastructure projects like new motorways. The money saved from scrapping road projects, Rhiannon says, should be invested in public transport infrastructure as well having rail carry the bulk of freight.

This is despite the fact road is the most viable option for freight.

In citing her list of demands, Rhiannon put a bill before New South Wales Parliament calling on the government to set up an oil taskforce to "oil proof NSW" before the State is swamped by "rocketing petrol prices, poor public transport and high food prices".

"The days of cheap energy are over and the 'easy oil' is gone. Leading analysts are predicting $200 a barrel within six months to two years," she says.

"The only way to deal with rising petrol prices is to reduce demand by getting people out of their petrol guzzlers and into fuel-efficient cars and public transport and to shift the bulk of freight by rail," Rhiannon says.

In tabling the bill Rhiannon also took a swipe at the diesel excise, saying reducing petrol taxes is a short term solution to a long term problem.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has argued extensively any increase in the fuel excise will result in higher running costs, which will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher grocery prices.

In other words, the Greens risk being caught in a contradictory position, because it argues for more to be done to keep food prices down but simultaneously wants the excise scrapped which keeps the price of everyday goods from spiralling even higher.

Rhiannon did say a plan to deal with the excise needed to be implemented, yet failed to mention what such a plan needs to entail.

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