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MUA join climate solutions debate: Time for new approach to freight.

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Christine Milne

Australian Senate Australian Greens Senator for Tasmania

media release

MUA join climate solutions debate: Time for new approach to freight

Hobart, Tasmania, Tuesday, 9 October 2007 Australian Greens Climate Change Spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, today welcomed the contribution of the Maritime Union of Australia to the climate solutions debate with their study of the relative emissions of sea and road freight, while calling for a much broader re-think of Australia's freight strategy.

Senator Milne said "The Greens have long been saying that the twin challenges of climate change and oil depletion mean we have to rethink our dependence on road travel in Australia, and this MUA study is a valuable contribution.

"Both of the old parties have completely failed to recognise that petrol prices will continue to rise, thanks to both greenhouse gas emissions controls and oil supply constraints, and that we must plan for this now by shifting our emphasis away from road to sea and rail.

"Australia's entire transport strategy is based on ABARE's blind faith that the price of oil will not stay above $40 barrel. This patent nonsense is leading Australia down the path of increased road freight, and road transport as a whole.

"Recognising that the oil price is now double ABARE's continued projections and still rising, we need a whole new strategy for transport in Australia which brings rail and shipping front and centre.

"ABARE is letting the country down and has not recovered from the consequences of former leader, Brian Fisher's, climate scepticism.

"The Howard Government cares so little about this issue that, since 2002, they have not even bothered to publish in the national greenhouse inventory a detailed end-use analysis of Australia's transport emissions which sets out a breakdown of where our transport emissions come from. The latest figures, 2002 analysis of 1999 emissions, show freight transport emissions gaining rapidly on personal transport.

"Without up-to-date figures, it is impossible to even begin planning for a strategy to reduce Australia's reliance on greenhouse-polluting oil for transport.

"The Government has also ignored the findings of the Senate Inquiry into Australia's Future Oil Supplies that I instigated, which called for a review of the transport corridor strategy in the light of increased oil prices.

"We need the Labor Party to come out now and support the MUA's concerns by promising a review of transport emissions and ABARE's effectiveness if it gains government."

Contact: Tim Hollo 0437 587 562