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Greens turn up the heat on transport

The Australian Greens say public transport breakdowns in two major cities yesterday underscore the need to upgrade the nation's ageing transport infrastructure.

Trains ground to a halt in Melbourne and trams stopped in Adelaide as infrastructure buckled under blistering temperatures. In Melbourne, the city's rail system was thrown into chaos when a record 150 services were cancelled.

"It's an ominous sign that federal and state governments are not adequately funding transport infrastructure. Unfortunately as the effects of climate change set in, temperatures are going to continue to climb. Tax payers deserve public transport infrastructure that's resilient and able to withstand the changing climate," said the Greens Public Transport Spokesperson, Senator Scott Ludlam.

"Unfortunately, current tram and train services often fail in hot weather, creating great discomfort and inconvenience for commuters. It's difficult to encourage people to use public transport, when they're subjected to system-wide breakdowns. This is a hot issue for many commuters and I expect it'll be raised in the public transport inquiry I've initiated."

Senator Ludlam said the government needs to get its priorities straight.

"Last year Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced a $580 million package to fast track coal transport in the regions. This is money that should have spent on upgrading decaying rail and tram lines in the cities."

In November Senator Ludlam initiated the first ever Senate Inquiry into public transport, due to report mid-year.

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