Fight fire with fire


KAP State Leader and member for Traeger Robbie Katter believes motorists could see a significant drop in fuel costs if Queensland’s ethanol mandate is increased and biofuels production ramps up in Queensland.


With Australia's fuel reserves at a record low - we could run out of petrol in just 20 days - the Federal Government has been forced to commission an immediate review.


Mr Katter said skyrocketing petrol prices across Queensland, which included a recent three year high in Townsville of $1.49c per litre, demanded more investment for ethanol and biofuels.


“Last year the ethanol mandate was three per cent of the total volume of petrol sold in Queensland. This was introduced after being forced through Parliament by the KAP,’’ Mr Katter said. “The mandate is due to increase to four per cent from July 1, 2018.


“This is a good start, however, motorists have had a gutful of the skyrocketing cost of petrol.


“People would see greater savings if the mandate is increased and biofuels production is ramped up in Queensland.’’


An increased ethanol mandate would be the trigger companies are waiting for to commit to investment in bio-fuel projects in North Queensland.


“This would also create an instant boost to jobs in regional areas and foster further capital investment in the sector,’’ Mr Katter said.


“It is also vital for our fuel security. Australia’s current dependence on imported fuel and oil for transport sits at 90 per cent with just 20 days of liquid stock if supplies were to stop.


“Ethanol provides much needed support for the agricultural industry, in particular sugar cane farmers in north and central Queensland.


”Queensland’s access to abundant feedstock such as sugar cane and prickly acacia provides a competitive advantage for the development of bio-fuels industries in north Queensland.’’


The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales 2016 reports two of the three Australian firms producing fuel-grade ethanol are based in Queensland.


“An increased mandate would contribute to lower petrol prices at the bowser, reduce emissions and provide a critical boost to Queensland’s agricultural industry,’’ Mr Katter said.


The reports also stated because ethanol is a renewable biofuel it may also provide external benefits such as reduced greenhouse gas emission and better health outcomes through lower air pollution.


Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said increased ethanol production would not only diversify Australia’s fuel supplies but benefit farmers in his electorate directly.


“With cane the predominate crop in Hinchinbrook, I know just how beneficial a 10 per cent ethanol mandate would be to farmers in my electorate,” Mr Dametto said.


“There is huge potential to grow that market and I urge the State Government to consider our party’s proposal.”

“We already have North Queensland Bio-Energy Corporation’s $640 million sugar-based renewable energy plant set to be fully operational by June 2021,” he said.

“A substantial investment by the State or Federal government could get this facility operational sooner and turbo-charge ethanol production in North Queensland.’’

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