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More excuses on peak oil - now it is time to act

Media Release
Christine Milne 28 Feb 2011

It is well past time for the Australian government to start planning for peak oil, instead of making excuses for voting down motions, the Australian Greens said today.

"It is not good enough for the government to say that it is going to have a report on liquid fuel security by 2012 as an excuse for voting down this motion," said Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne.

"In 2006, the Senate made a number of recommendations, including for a national strategy to address peak oil and neither the govt nor the coalition have done anything.

"There has been no response to increasing evidence that the Saudi Arabian govt has overstated its oil reserves, nor has there been any acknowledgement that the IEA last year acknowledged the real threat of peak oil.

"Whilst oil prices are now rising because of unrest in the Middle East, the underlying driver is that the age of plentiful, easily accessible, cheap oil is over.

"It's time to act. Australia needs a strategy to oil-proof the country through investment in everything from public transport to electric vehicles as well as assisting farmers in getting off petro-chemical fertilisers."

The text of the motion is below:

The Senate:
a) Notes that:

i. In 2006 the Greens instigated a Senate Inquiry into Australia's future oil supply and alternative transport fuels;

ii. Neither the former Howard government, the former Rudd government nor the Gillard government have implemented the nine recommendations of that Inquiry's tripartite report, with only recommendation 6 relating to incentives for fuel efficient vehicles even having been considered;

iii. Following a series of whistleblower leaks, the International Energy Agency last year for the first time publicly acknowledged the real threat of peak oil; and

iv. A series of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks and published this week reveal growing confidence that Saudi Arabian oil reserves have been overstated by as much as 40% and that the world's biggest oil exporter may not be able to supply enough oil to the global market to prevent prices rising dramatically; and

b) Calls on the government to immediately develop a national plan to respond to the challenge of peak oil and Australia's dependence on imported foreign oil.

Christine Milne

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