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Monday, July 4

Govt infrastructure plan full of contradictions

The Government's National Infrastructure Plan is full of contradictions, said the Green Party today.

Green Party co-leader Dr Russel Norman said the document demonstrated the Government did not have a coherent vision to develop a smart green economy to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

"The plan states that we need to consider global trends that will affect the economy, including climate change, but then it prioritises fossil fuel production and irrigation to expand dairy production, both of which will increase our greenhouse gas emissions," said Dr Norman.

"It states that we need to consider peak oil, yet it plans for growth in traffic, despite the fact that the last few years have seen no increase in light vehicle trips and a decrease in freight tonnes per kilometre.

"It plans to spend billions on new state highways, even though it states that we need to find more cost effective ways of using the infrastructure that we have, particularly in urban areas.

"It also seems to be laying the groundwork for more privatisation for the provision of social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals."

Dr Norman said there were some smart principles and observations laid out in the document, but that they didn't flow through to the actual projects the Government was prioritising.

"We have an opportunity right now to develop a smart green economy that will help us meet all the challenges of this century. If we don't plan to reduce our fossil fuel use, our economy and our environment will suffer.

"If we don't plan for an economy that has less intensive use of land and water, our clean green brand will be at risk, as will the ability of our kids to swim in our rivers," said Dr Norman.