Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Australian Freight And Shipping Interests Are Green Eyed

With Environmentalists Holding the Senate What of the Future ?
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA -Even as negotiations continue between the trio of Independent outback MP’s and the two main parties the lower house may not be the crucial area of Australian politics as far as shipping and transport interests are concerned. It appears that the Green party will have the controlling interest in the Senate from July next year, possibly for the following six years and the potential for change will be, to say the least, interesting.

Obviously a Green Senate will lobby and negotiate frantically for greater development of a cleaner energy policy and this is likely to include controls on freight transport emissions by way of higher costs for polluting vehicles and possibly even support for larger trucks once the Australian Trucking Association can persuade representatives’ of their green and safety credentials. Just this week we have seen the first of the new generation of ‘high productivity’ freight vehicles being trialled for the Victorian and South Australian governments’ Green Triangle Region Action Plan intended to reduce the number of trucks on Victorian roads.

Another thought which is on many peoples minds is the economic expansion which most Australians seem to believe is about to occur during the next few years. This optimism is based on China’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for raw materials which their comparatively near neighbour is blessed with in abundance.

There may be a lesson here worth learning if eyes turn toward the old country, Britain also had considerable resources during the North Sea oil boom and much was made of the country’s future prosperity. Now UK politicians accuse previous administrations of using the money to fund social welfare on a grandiose scale and, now supplies are dwindling, reality has returned.

Perhaps a cautious and environmentally aware hand on the tiller will ensure that shipping interests pay industry costs by way of fuel taxes and road tolls and fund development of the country’s intermodal and rail freight infrastructure. Certainly, for all the political shortcomings of the recent election results, most of the rest of the world would like the type of problems facing Australians in the coming years.