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National freight strategy vital but climate and peak oil absent

The Australian Greens today welcomed Infrastructure Australia's first steps towards a coordinated national approach to freight planning, but called for a major shift in focus to take account of climate change and peak oil.

"Now that we are finally starting a process of coordinated national freight planning, surely that work has to focus on climate change and peak oil, with proper planning for a more efficient, low emissions future," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

"There is a long history of messy, ad hoc transport and freight development in Australia and the Greens have long called for a national approach.

"However, this first report still seems to see the main avenues for increasing productivity in avoiding the bottlenecks in the old means of transport.

"It is bizarre that, when businesses and governments around the world are seeing that the real productivity breakthroughs will come from innovation driven by responses to the climate crisis and peak oil, this report has only one brief mention of each. That has to change."

Australian Greens spokesperson for sustainable transport, Senator Scott Ludlam, said the plan didn't question problematic assumptions about freight in Australia.

“This plan assumes the freight task will double by 2030 and continue to grow rapidly thereafter. We have to ask if that is sensible or even possible,” he said. “We must ask; how will Australia get twice as much freight onto our roads by 2030, when congestion is already out of control all the indicators are telling us that the age of cheap oil is over?” 

“There still appears to be a profound disconnect between transport planning and the emerging reality of peak oil,” he said.


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