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Bartlett fuel crisis summit welcomed

Australian Greens climate change spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, today wrote to Premier David Bartlett welcoming his commitment to holding a summit on alleviating the impact of fuel prices on Tasmanians and offering her expertise and participation.

Senator Milne said, "Tasmanians hurt by the cost of transport and facing the prospect of ever-increasing fuel prices need real, urgent relief, and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss with the Premier the best options for providing this relief.

"With global oil prices rising steadily, the petrol price pressure on so many Australians is thanks in no small part to the failure of governments over the past decades to grapple with the inevitability of peak oil and provide options for people not to use their cars. It's well past time to urgently fix the mess that's been made and I offer my support to Premier Bartlett if that is what he intends to do.

"This summit provides a tremendous opportunity. With all the relevant information and the right will, we can find solutions that can be implemented fast by re-prioritising existing infrastructure and capacity to get mass transit options to those who currently have none and desperately need relief from spiralling transport costs.

"We can get some lateral thinking, for example, to use the spare capacity of community buses, most of which sit idle for 80% of the time. Without reducing the excellent services they provide, we could use community buses to ferry commuters in suburbs unserviced by public transport to nodes on larger mass transit routes.

"There is no reason why the proposed Kingston bypass cannot link into a rapid transit lane on the Southern Expressway with a park and ride node at Kingston, for example. As recently as two weeks ago, I proposed this to the Federal Senate.

"We can promote car sharing and car pooling resources that already exist, and urgently set aside space for park and ride facilities.

"Cycleways, especially on Sandy Bay Road, could be brought forward and up and running in a very short time, with the political will.

"These are solutions that can be put in place as fast as we can recruit new drivers. They can relieve pressure on household budgets now and buy us time to build the new mass transit, pedestrian and cycleway infrastructure that will be needed in our decarbonised, post-oil economy.

"I have every hope that we can see a constructive, cross-partisan discussion at this summit and offer my support and services to make that happen."

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