The Bullroarer - Tuesday 1st April 2008

The Age - Stuck in our cars on the highway to hell

CLIMATE change, peak oil, mounting traffic congestion and planning inertia have given Melbourne a transport headache. For half a century, we have hitched our hopes to an impossible dream — the dream of automobility. The freedom to drive when, where and as often as we like has become almost a sacred right. Now our dream has become a nightmare. As petrol prices rise and the environmental costs of maintaining a car-based city hit home, we may wonder how we got ourselves into this jam. And whether we can get out of it.

Herald Sun - At the crossroads

IF you had $12 billion to spend on transport around this city, where would you put your money?

Two major inquiries are due to report, which will have a huge impact.

Tomorrow there's the Eddington Inquiry into Melbourne's east-west transport connections, and there's also the ongoing federal Garnaut Review on climate change policy.

For Melbourne's transport planning these inquiries signpost opposite directions. - Shock prediction on Australian power prices

ENERGY costs could spiral up to 10 times current levels within a decade, Reserve Bank board member and ex-Woolworths chief Roger Corbett has warned.

His gloomy prediction came yesterday as new figures showed the price of petrol and food continued to soar and as St George became the third bank in the past week to raise its interest rates. - Leaders argue over fuel tax

The Auckland Regional Council’s proposed five cents a litre petrol tax has generated varied reactions from North Shore leaders.

MP Wayne Mapp considers the timing of the ARC proposal "unfortunate".

Dr Mapp says imposing an additional burden will not sit well with Shore taxpayers.

"We’re on the verge of a recession and the last thing our people need now is new taxes," he says.

"With petrol prices going up, interest rates skyrocketing and house prices plummeting, imposing another tax is quite disastrous to our people.

The Age - Market vigilance and a gas starter industry will help fuel an automotive renaissance

THE two factors that have caused the local car industry's sudden fall from grace are all too apparent. The problem is that the Government has no power over either.

The appreciation of the Australian dollar and the sharp rise in oil prices have transformed the Australian car industry from a success story in the early years of this century to a basket case now.

Transport is a very difficult prospect in our modern lives. Everywhere we are bombarded with advertising and promotions encouraging us to buy a car or go on a holiday to some exotic location. Our financial systems rely to a huge extent on the very business of allowing us to get around the world and from place to place within our own cities.
From huge car manufacturers to the company that provides the little toothbrush you get on International flights, business provides us with the very jobs that allow us to get around, spend our money and live our lives.
If we start losing jobs as a result of the industries they are in simply not being required anymore then there will a lot of unemployed people out there. What will happen to all the car salesmen, mechanics, service station attendants, car parts makers, petrol carters, line markers, spray painters, panel beaters, receptionists and a myriad of other workers whose very lives depend on the wheels of cars to keep turning.
Public transport could be a solution in itself in that it would provide a multitude if jobs in construction, administration and ongoing maintenence.
We can either get a head start or be left relying on the car just when it will be heading for exinction.

I read Roger Corbetts remarks in the Fin Reviewyesterday and while he didin't mention peak oil, he certainly alluded to it and uderstands extremely well how the motor car has been the driving force behind the current retail model that he was part of. Corbett now spends his retirement listening to the boffins at the Reserve Bank once month and one has to wonder what is being discussed in private if he is willing to discuss hiher energy prices and their impact in public like this. Good to see.