The Biofuels Association of Australia (BAA) has slammed the Federal Government’s Energy White Paper (EWP) which fails to respond to climate change and our worsening fuel security position. “Instead of supporting ‘here and now solutions’ to reduce the carbon intensity of our fuels by promoting biofuels (like the rest of the OECD nations), Australia’s plan is to wait for the market to sort something out,” said Gavin Hughes, CEO of BAA.
Australia’s free market approach and decision to not intervene by promoting one technology or fuel over another, will see a long bright future for the fossil fuels industry in this country based on foreign oil. This decision will underwrite jobs for foreign oil refinery workers but does little to support research, development and technology or jobs in regional and rural Australia.
Internationally Governments recognise that oil prices will again recover and are positioning themselves to have developed cheaper and cleaner alternatives for the future. The EWP is silent on policies that ensure the vehicles we purchase today can use the fuels of tomorrow. The European Union and USA already have policies that ensure all imported vehicles sold are compatible with higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel fuels for example.
Finally, even though the EWP recognise that as our oil industry has restructured, with 80‐90% of our fuel now imported and only a couple of weeks stock held onshore, maintaining supply is not seen as a problem because shipping will never be a problem to Australia. Whilst nobody in Australia wishes that we will see any global disruptions, it is certainly a Pollyanna approach to policy making to think this isn’t a possibility. Although we have lived with unrest in the Middle East to now, increasing tensions and changing terrorist activities mean the situation remains unstable. Given our meagre reserves, stock outs are a high possibility as we have already seen in Victoria and recently in WA, when contaminated cargoes caused diesel shortages last year.
We need a policy framework that delivers for tomorrow, not a description of what we have today.
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CEO Biofuels Association of Australia