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The Biofuels Association of Australia strongly rejects claims by the Federal Productivity Commission that the industry fails to support the agriculture sector or the community.

The NSW and Queensland Governments have not forced motorists to buy E10 or biodiesel, said BAA Chief Executive Officer, Mark Sutton.

“To claim that biofuel mandates are causing increased petrol prices is not supported by any hard evidence,” he said.

“Petrol prices are largely determined by international factors including the oil price – to suggest that a biofuel mandate which encourages motorists to buy E10 – a blended product – drives up fuel prices, is not accurate.”

The Federal Government via a review of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 is looking to overhaul fuel to bring it in line with other countries around the world.

“Australia is lagging badly behind on standards for air quality and pollution threatening the health of all Australians.”

“If new standards are adopted ethanol can deliver a premium quality fuel at a 10 to 15 cent discount.”

The biofuel industry does create jobs particularly in Queensland where two ethanol plants are operating.

“The United Plant at Dalby is currently at capacity and is considering further expansion which will create jobs.”

“The Wilmar Plant at Sarina, near Mackay also supports the sugarcane industry which is currently facing challenging times following Cyclone Debbie.”

Mr Sutton said the Queensland Government’s mandate and current education campaign would drive a better understanding of the industry and boost demand.

“More than 400,000 people in Queensland have checked to see if their car is compatible with E10,” he said.

“This shows that there is real interest in the product, and through consumer choice motorists, can support the agriculture industry.”

Mr Sutton said the Federal Government had already made major changes to the grant programs for the biofuel sector and implemented a new excise regime.

“This legislation was supported by both sides of Parliament and reflects the communities support for the sector – any changes would threaten existing jobs and major investments.”

Mr Sutton said many overseas countries, including Brazil, the United States and Thailand along with Europe had sophisticated and well developed industries.

“These countries are getting the benefits, particularly in Agriculture, while Australia has a long way to go,” he said.

Mr Sutton said scientific evidence shows that biofuels delivers environmental benefits, is cost effective for motorists and has the potential to further boost employment.