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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Professor calls for green car tax breaks

 Bargain-loving Australians should be offered tax breaks and parking discounts for clean cars to cut potentially deadly air pollution in cities, an academic says.


November 18, 2013

Queensland University of Technology Professor Adrian Barnett believes politicians should take a lead in countering Australia's "complacent" attitude to the problem.

Better financial incentives to get people to buy cleaner electric and hybrid cars should be considered alongside new laws to keep trucks out of city centres in rush hour, he says.

"A lot of the technology is there. Politicians could do a lot of new things to encourage it," he told AAP.

"They could make tax a lot smaller for electric vehicles. If they did that, there would be a massive increase. Aussies love a bargain."

His comments come after the World Health Organisation (WHO) reclassified air pollution as a carcinogen in October, after new research showed its links to lung and bladder cancer.
Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia, he said the move should be a wake-up call for politicians.

The Queensland government has unveiled plans for a $5 billion Brisbane underground system for buses and trains linking Dutton Park and Bowen Hills by a 5.4-kilometre tunnel by 2021.
The project aims to remove 200 buses from inner-city streets.

Prof Burnett, from QUT's School of Public Health and Social Work, said the tunnel might reduce pollution but risked just shifting fumes to areas around the entrances and exits or any vents.

Boosting sales of electric and hybrid cars would be the best way to combat the pollution, with cheaper parking in government-owned car parks a good idea alongside tax breaks.

"We need action on specific dirty sites, but we also need action on common sources such as vehicles, which create most of the pollution in our cities."

Avoiding rush-hour journeys is the single biggest move drivers can make to improve air quality in the worst areas - usually city centres.