The NSW government has secretly asked the Independent Regulatory and Pricing Tribunal to review its ethanol laws, according to a report in The Australian today.
The request was made before the last state election, but news of it comes as Queensland considers mandating the sustainable fuel.
Mandating ethanol has flow on benefits across multiple industries, giving farmers from whose agricultural waste ethanol is made more options for their produce, and helping local ethanol producers to break into the industry and compete viably with overseas competitors.
NSW already has a mandate on ethanol fuel in place – 6 per cent of the fuel sold across the state. Small independent sellers are exempt from having to meet this requirement however, which equates to about 25 per cent of NSW service stations according to IPART.
Although the referral to IPART has caused members of opposition to question the government’s commitment to ethanol fuel, CEO of the Biofuels Association of Australia, Gavin Hughes, said he was confident the government remained committed to the 6 per cent mandate.
He added that the simplest way to to reach the 6 per cent level was to ban regular unleaded.
But in 2012 when concerns were raised about available choices for motorists who did not want to fill up with ethanol, then-premier Barry O’Farrell confirmed that regular unleaded would continue to be sold.
The State opposition has reaffirmed their commitment to a mandated level of ethanol fuel, adding that Labor enforced the requirement when they were in power.
“We were achieving close to the target. The Coalition has dropped the ball. What is the National Party doing?” he said.
*Adapted from ‘NSW orders review of ethanol fuel laws as regular rules’ from The Australian, 15 July 2015. You can read the original article here.