Professor Norman spoke at ACT Peak Oil AGM on November 26

Presentation by

Professor Barbara Norman

Foundation Chair, Urban and Regional Planning

Faculty of Business, Government & Law

"Transport options for Canberra"

ANU Emeritus Faculty

Building 1c, 24 Balmain Crescent

Australian National University ACT 0200

5.30 for 6pm

Refreshments served at 5.30pm

Wednesday 26 November 2014

The address will conclude at 7pm. After a 10 minute break, the AGM of ACT Peak Oil will proceed. Members of the public are welcome to attend and to join.


Media release


3 September 2013




In August 2013 APO surveyed candidates for the 2013 Federal Election for the two ACT Senate seats and the seats of Canberra and Fraser in the House of Representatives.


The basis of peak oil theory is that we are using up our oil, the alternatives are not as good and that while we cannot stop the depletion of oil we can get ready for what happens when we cannot produce enough food and transport.


All candidates whose contact details were published by the Electoral Commission were invited to participate. They were asked a series of questions regarding their understanding of the decreasing amount of oil and what the government should do about this (Survey is attached).


ACT Peak Oil President Edward Smith said ‘I’m delighted to see numerous candidates demonstrating their knowledge of the integral role that oil currently plays in our consumption of food and other goods and the challenge that continued oil depletion poses’


He also said, ‘it’s exciting that the Australian Democrats Darren Churchill and the Stable Population Party’s Senate Candidate Mark O’Connor, are openly acknowledging the importance of declining oil supplies’.


Andrew Leigh and Chris Sant, Labor candidates for Fraser and the Senate, both attempted to repudiate peak oil and said that ‘the world’s resource base of conventional crude oil should not be seen as a constraint on future oil production, a view supported by the International Energy Agency (IEA).’ 


Mr Smith considers that relying on the IEA alone is risky given that the Australian Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) had forecast in BITRE report 117 that oil production would peak in 2017.



‘Even the NRMA has raised concerns about Australia’s heavy reliance on oil and the rapid damage to our food supply and health systems in the event of oil supply crises’ said Mr Smith.


Yet even if Dr Leigh has his way and puts off action until 2035, the Hirsch and Bezdek reports from the US Departments of Defence and Energy have said that modern economies would need 20 years of intense effort to make transitions away from oil. This means the crash course in oil independence should be beginning within the next term of government.


‘Given the continued uncertainty in the middle east, Australia’s oil dependency should be a matter of high priority in the short term’ he added.


The Greens, who have publicly acknowledged the threat of peak oil in the past, declined to participate in the survey. ‘It was very surprising, I can only assume they are reducing their focus on the environment’ Mr Smith said.


The Liberal Party had also declined to participate. ‘For a party that purports to be a party of government, the Liberal party’s silence on peak oil is as bizarre as it is unfortunate’.


‘I can only speculate that their traditional backers in the small business sector are as yet unaware of how their enterprises would be crippled by collapsing oil supplies and soaring prices’.


Further information: Edward Smith - 0422 290 496 or




Letter to The Economist magazine

Your leader (‘Yesterday’s fuel’ August 3rd2013) is correct in asserting that advances in automotive efficiency and certain environmental (essentially energy efficiency) policies will ceteris paribus reduce global demand for oil. This is precisely why so many peak oil organisations are lobbying explicitly for incentives for energy efficiency, such as replacing or reducing income taxes with the introduction or increase of oil and gas taxes. 

Thank you Mr Rattenbury

Dear Editor,

ACT Peak Oil applauds TAMS Minister Shane Rattenbury's public acknowledgement of the importance of peak oil in transport planning (Our roads streets ahead. August 3). Peak Oil is as uncomplicated as David Ellery made it out to be: oil supplies are diminishing. ACT Peak Oil proposes that this means petrol and diesel will therefore become more scarce and expensive. We also propose that this is a problem because none of the alternatives match petrochemicals' power to weight ratios, chemical stability and other properties. Many politicians have said we do not have to worry about this but none can refute the very simple aforementioned theory. The first step in ACT Peak Oil's 12 point plan for Canberra 'seeing off the challenge from peak oil' is admitting we have a problem. Thank you Mr Rattenbury.

Edward Smith
ACT Peak Oil

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