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Greens back $10 billion investment call for mass transit; Alternatives are the only real compensation

The Australian Greens today strongly backed calls from the Bus Industry and public transport experts for a $10 billion injection of funds from the Federal Government into mass transit infrastructure as the only way to provide Australians with real, permanent relief from rising oil and carbon prices.

Australian Greens climate change spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, said, "The Greens have long been calling for a complete rethink of transport policy in Australia, reprioritising funding from roads across to mass transit infrastructure, bike paths and walkways.

"In a world where climate change and peak oil are realities that we must plan for, and where traffic congestion and air pollution are driving people up the wall, the positive and sensible course of action to is to help people get out of their cars by providing cheap and convenient alternatives.

"With the chorus of calls growing for compensation for emissions trading and relief from global oil price rises, it's important to realise that ad hoc cuts to excise, no matter how high, will never provide real relief. They will be swallowed up in days and the calls will only get louder. Kevin Rudd must be straight with the Australian people and tell them that petrol prices will not go down again but will keep rising.

"The only way to provide real, permanent relief from rising oil and carbon prices is to bring on the alternatives as fast as possible to help Australians stop relying on polluting, and increasingly scarce, oil.

"By getting more buses on the road, more trains on the tracks and, over time, more extensive light and heavy rail networks, we can make fast, accessible mass transit a convenient option for the great majority of people in our cities and in our regions.

"The bus industry and transport experts are absolutely right to call for this $10 billion injection of funds and, if the Rudd Government heeds their advice, they will find a welcome reception in the Senate for their efforts."

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