Environment Victoria has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement to introduce subsidies for LPG conversion and ethanol fuels but has called for the Federal Government to also fund improvements to public transport to give families a buffer against skyrocketing petrol prices.
Environment Victoria sustainable transport campaigner Ben Smith said: ‘This is a good start, but the Federal Government needs to ensure that families who have been hit hard by rising petrol prices have quality public transport alternatives.”
“The Federal Government must look at a broad range of options to tackle this fuel crisis and cannot continue to ignore public transport.”
“Instead of being addicted to our cars and at the mercy of high fuel prices, we could instead have quick, reliable public transport services that reduce traffic congestion and help cut greenhouse gas and air pollution.”
Mr Smith said Australia is one of the only countries in the developed world where the federal government doesn’t contribute funds to public transport infrastructure.
“Even the Bush Administration is investing billions in partnership with the states to boost public transport usage.
“It’s time the Howard Government started sharing the costs with the states to build new and expand existing train services particularly in outer metropolitan areas where the rising cost of fuel is hurting families most.”
Mr Smith said improved public transport options were needed to tackle road congestion which cost up to $6billion annually in Melbourne alone.
“The Federal Government should also promote public transport use by making monthly and yearly tickets fully tax deductible for individuals and extending fringe benefits tax concessions to businesses that provide their employees with public transport tickets.”