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Peak oil warning signs as IEA and US DoE release strategic reserves



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Christine Milne

Australian Senate Australian Greens Deputy Leader

Contact: Tim Hollo on 0437 587 562

media release

Friday 24 June 2011

Peak oil warning signs as IEA and US DoE release strategic reserves

In a further clear warning about peak oil, the International Energy Agency and US Department of Energy have agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from strategic reserves in order to dampen immediate oil price crises.

Meanwhile, although the Senate last night passed the bill reforming the Fringe Benefits Tax Concession for motor vehicles, a reform driven over many years by the Greens, Australia continues to subsidise oil for transport to the tune of billions of dollars a year.

“Australia is one of the last remaining countries in the developed world which refuses to acknowledge the need to insulate ourselves against peak oil,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

“Australia needs a national plan to transition away from oil and build a clean economy.

“The best way to reduce our vulnerability to peak oil is to help Australians to drive less and, when they do drive, to drive more efficient or electric vehicles.

“While our long campaign to get rid of the perverse incentive to drive more in the Fringe Benefits Tax Concession finally came to fruition in the Senate last night, there are many more perverse subsidies we should tackle and much more that needs to be done.

“We need to invest in public transport, cyclepaths and pedestrian paths, bring in appropriate mandatory vehicle fuel efficiency standards in line with those in Europe and Asia, and reform perverse subsidies like the fuel tax credit for miners which means miners pay no tax on the fuel they use to dig more fossil fuels out of the ground while commuters pay through the nose.

“The Greens have also called for subsidies to the car industry in Australia to be tied to high standards of vehicle fuel efficiency or manufacture of electric cars, and new government procurement policies which prioritise getting efficient or electric cars into the fleet.

“Successive governments have completely failed to act on any of the unanimous, cross-party recommendations of a Senate Inquiry I established into Australia's future oil supply 5 years ago. The recommendations clearly pointed to the need to invest properly in oil-proofing Australia.

“Removing the FBT's concession that encouraged people to drive more has been an important step down this road, but we have much further to go if we are to really insulate Australia against the coming oil crisis.”