Australian Greens' Additional Comments
The Australian Greens are committed to ensuring reliable transport
energy supplies that efficiently and effectively serve the needs for the
community and industry, while eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels and
our greenhouse gas emissions.
The committee report is a good summary of the varied issues at play with
regard to securing Australia’s transport energy supplies.
While we note that there were varied views on the key aspects of
transport energy security, clear themes of serious concern have emerged from
the evidence provided. These include our transport sector’s vulnerability to
low or insecure fuel supplies, and the environmental risks of fuel tankers with
deficiencies posing threats to our marine environment.
The Greens note in particular, submissions to the inquiry that
highlighted the energy resilience opportunities and emissions reduction
potential of reducing fossil fuel dependence in our transport sector. For
example, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
noted, "Countries around the world are taking steps to reduce transport
emissions while accommodating growth in the economy and population by
maximising energy efficiency, electrification and development of low carbon
fuels. Additional benefits include greater energy security and independence
from reliance on a single fuel source."
Before the Senate is a private members bill from the Australian Greens
that would replicate the European Union’s fuel efficiency standards for motor
vehicles and dramatically reduce fuel demand and the risks posed through energy
The committee examined issues related to gas as a fuel source and
gas-powered vehicles as a way to increase Australia’s fuel security. While we
support the view of submitters that reducing reliance on diesel fuels is a
favourable step, we note that CNG and LNG represent a continued reliance on
fossil fuels. We note that a shift to CNG and LNG only reduces greenhouse gas
emissions by around 25% and so does not constitute a long term solution to
reducing transport carbon emissions to zero or near zero which will be required
in the coming decades as part of a global commitment to avoid dangerous climate
There is also a small, but predictable revolution occurring in the field
of battery storage and electric and hydrogen cars. As the charging
infrastructure is rolled out globally and in Australia, and the economies of
scale reduce the costs of fossil free vehicles, the pressures of liquid energy
security will greatly ease.
The Greens note that coal-to-liquids (CTL) technology was explored
briefly in the report, but without expansion into the emissions intensiveness
of the resulting product. It should be noted that this technology may offer a
diversification of source for fossil fuels, but would be a backwards step with
regard to transitioning Australia’s transport energy supply to a zero carbon
While we support the recommendations contained in the report, the
Australian Greens feel that stronger emphasis needs to be placed in order to
take into account the issues noted in these comments. We propose the following
recommendations in addition to those included in the report.
That the Australian Government develop and publish a comprehensive
Transport Energy Plan directed to achieving a secure, affordable and
sustainable transport energy supply. The plan should be developed following a
public consultation process. The plan should set targets for the secure zero
carbon supply of Australia's transport energy, and outline a transition to
achieve this supply over the coming two decades.
That the government encourage and support the development of zero
carbon and potential zero carbon transport energy sources and transport
comprehensive public transport systems across all capital and
investment in infrastructure to support and facilitate greater
use of walking and cycling
the rollout of electric vehicles and the production of biodiesel
produced from genuine waste products
That the Senate pass the Motor Vehicles (Cheaper Transport) Bill
2014 to reduce fuel demand across the economy by requiring the importation of
new motor vehicles complies with global standards.
Senator Janet Rice
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