Media Release: 28th February, 2012: Gillard reshuffle: PM should create an Energy Security portfolio

DARREN CHURCHILL

National President

darren.churchill@democrats.org.au

Tel: 0412 196 473

28th February, 2012

Gillard reshuffle: PM should create an Energy Security portfolio

The Australian Democrats say that Julia Gillard should take the opportunity presented by her cabinet reshuffle to create a new portfolio of Energy Security which would head the development of plans to deal with an impending energy crisis.

National President, Darren Churchill, says that with worldwide demand for oil increasing at the same time as supply is reducing, the oil prices will keep going up with far-reaching impacts, yet the Federal Government seems unaware of this dramatic phenomenon known as peak oil.

“An Energy Security Department and Minister would be charged with spearheading the transition to a lower energy economy, with extensive rollouts of new public transport infrastructure, development of emergency fuel storage locations in regional areas, and encouragement of the manufacture of ultra-light/electric vehicles.

“At present there is a Minister for Resources and Energy with an implication that this issue is merely about digging up the resources and exporting them, which misses the point about the sort of future we will have if a business-as-normal attitude is adopted.

“If people are struggling and swearing now at fuel prices of $1.40 it will be much worse when they hit $3 or $4 per litre. And when this happens, the price of all goods will go up because of the increased freight costs.

“Oil is a major component of fertilisers, so they too will go up in price and add to the cost of food.

Farmers will have to significantly raise their prices because of both the amounts of fuel they use in planting, reaping and getting products ready for market and the cost of fertilisers.

“Picture how much plastic we use – just look at an office desk for a start – and imagine the impacts of oil shortages on the production and availability of plastics.”

A study prepared for the German army has concluded that the economic damage of what is known as ‘peak oil’ is almost impossible to quantify – but they predict economic instability and unemployment and perhaps the complete collapse of our banking systems, stock exchanges and financial markets.

“Our governments – federal and state – have procrastinated on this for four decades. It is difficult to understand why most Australian politicians fail to even mention this problem because it will hit sooner and harder than the impacts of climate change.

“For the future good of Australia we urge the PM to take urgent action, and we encourage governments to borrow or steal any or all of the solutions listed on the Democrats’ website if Australia is to get through this crisis” said Mr Churchill.

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