Media Releases | 9th May, 2006

Federal Government ignores own research on sustainable cities

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Environment Victoria has criticised the Federal Budget which ignores the recommendations of the Sustainable Cities Inquiry commissioned by the Federal Government.

The inquiry’s report (tabled on 12 September 2005) called on the Federal Government to:

  • provide funding for public transport improvements
  • remove tax incentives that encourage the use of cars and fuel-inefficient vehicles – such as Fringe Benefits Tax and reduced 4WD tariffs.

Environment Victoria’s sustainable transport campaigner Louise Sales said:
“Although Treasurer Peter Costello has warned that the national economy could be seriously hurt by rising oil prices, the Budget does nothing to tackle Australia’s entrenched car dependency.”

“The Government needs to urgently remove incentives that encourage unnecessary driving. The Fringe Benefits Tax rules not only add to peak hour congestion, air pollution and oil depletion – they also cost the taxpayer $1.5 billion annually.”
“It’s time the Federal Government invested that money into public transport. It’s simply unacceptable that public transport is out of reach for two thirds of Melbourne residents.”

“Australia is the only OECD country that doesn’t provide federal funding for public transport improvements. At a time when we are facing the devastating effects of climate change, and diminishing oil supplies, we urgently need to invest in sustainable solutions to our transport problems.”

“The Howard Government was happy to spend half a billion dollars in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs on the Eastlink freeway before the Bracks Government decided to introduce tolls. The Howard Government should show its commitment to families in the region by helping fund a much-needed rail extension to Rowville.’’