Ask any investor what they want when it comes to Government and they will tell you certainty.
The regulatory environment can often be the joker in the pack in the complex process of undertaking due diligence on a project.
Most major policy decisions will deliver a winner and a loser, but most of all if government wants an industry to grow, investors not only need regulatory certainty, they need clarity that this will extend over the life of their investment.
The renewable fuel sector is thriving around the world where governments have made a clear policy commitment which is enshrined in legislation, with bi-partisan support and a public understanding of the benefits.
In Australia that has not been in the case until now.
Both the NSW and Queensland Governments have made major commitments to the sector with the introduction of new legislation.
After 10 years of discussion, the Queensland Parliament introduced a biofuels mandate for ethanol and biodiesel which will commence in January next year.
The Queensland Government is already reaping the rewards with the news an advanced biofuels pilot plant will be built at Southern Oil Refining’s Yarwun site at Gladstone.
The government announced that if the pilot project is a success then a large commercial-scale refinery costing $150 million and producing up to 200 million litres of advanced biofuel per annually, suitable for military, marine and aviation use will follow.
It is great to make new policy announcements, but the proof is in the pudding for the public.
This policy is about creating more jobs in regional areas – that’s why this announcement is so important coming so soon after the mandate commitment.
“A fully-fledged biofuels industry has the potential to play a key role in our economic future and this pilot plant is a giant step towards achieving that goal,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
With its clear policy and commitment, Queensland has now become an attractive place to invest.
While most investment has been domestic, there are major international players watching the latest developments with interest.
These international players have deep pockets and can drive the industry to a new level, creating much-needed jobs along the way.