Alderman Philip Cocker is calling on the Hobart City Council to examine the risks and possibilities from oil price vulnerability. “My motion tonight is about assessing the impacts of Peak oil on the Council’s business, the business community and the community in general”, Alderman Cocker said.

“When you consider that every 1% rise means 10 million dollars approx shifts out of the Tasmanian economy you start to realise our vulnerability to the oil price”.

“The debate has significantly shifted when the International Energy Agency recently changed its position on Peak Oil and price vulnerability. Comments from the peak energy body Chief economist Fatih Birol who described the situation as bleak and I quote”

“On the one hand we have this pressure on the demand side, but when we look at the production side the prospects are a little bleak. We think that the crude oil production has already peaked in 2006, but we expect oil to come from the natural gas liquids, the type of liquid we have through the production of gas, and also a bit from the oil sands. But in any case it will be very challenging to see an increase in the production to meet the growth in the demand, and as a result of that one of the major conclusions we have from our recent work in the energy outlook is that the age of cheap oil is over. We all have to prepare ourselves, as governments, as industry, or as a private car driver, for higher oil prices.”

“The potential impact of rising fuel prices on Tasmania and its communities cannot be overstated”, Alderman Cocker said. “Local Government is well placed help prepare their communities and ensure they are as resilient as possible. Tasmania is spending approximately 1 billion dollars year on petroleum products, and even small price movements can have a dramatic impact on our state”.

Alderman Cocker said that there will be winners and losers from Peak oil. “Those worst effected will be government jurisdictions who don’t prepare and develop community resilience and reduce their economic reliance on carbon-based fuels.” Local government is uniquely placed to make a real difference to the impact on their communities”.

“Areas such as transport and road funding, asset replacement, service delivery and food sourcing will all increasingly become vital strategic areas in response to rising fuel costs “Alderman Cocker said.

“ In fact, there will be few aspects of governance and community life that will not be effected by the issues of oil decline. Lead councils on the mainland have developed policy responses and initiatives and ‘Peak Oil’ was central to discussions at the recent Victorian municipals conference”, Alderman Cocker said.

The first step is to understand the issues, then we can look at the steps we can take and the economic an social advantages of resilience building” Alderman Cocker said.” Tasmania can only gain by tackling this issues and taking actions to reduce our vulnerability”.

Download motion: Council_motion_14th_June.docx