Driving the state to switch to E10 fuel is the best way the Palaszczuk Government can reduce the state’s carbon footprint and save Queenslanders money, Katter’s Australian Party State Leader Robbie Katter has said.
Mr Katter said vehicle emissions were responsible for about 70 per cent of south-east Queensland’s air pollution, and state-wide was a greater carbon contributor than both the agriculture sector and land clearing.
Fuel prices are also crippling Queenslanders financially, and in North Queensland prices have been as high as $1.95L in recent months.
It’s likely fuels prices will hit $2 litre in 2019, based on current pricing trends.
Mr Katter said the state’s current mining boom was delivering billions of dollars in royalties to the State Government every year, and that at least some of this revenue needed to be funnelled into funding new sources of fuel.
“The E10 introduction is a policy that desperately needs to be driven, primarily to keep the prices down,” Mr Katter said.
“Other countries that have a strong E10 uptake have much lower fuel prices; in Australia we need to provide competition to the fuel market share that is tightly-held by oil companies.
“However, price alone is not the only reason for driving E10.”
Mr Katter said the widespread uptake of E10 could save lives, reduce Australia’s carbon footprint, provide alternative markets to farmers, create national wealth and help guarantee Australia’s fuel supply in times of national crises.
“Studies have shown that in Sydney, around three times the number of people are killed by vehicle emissions each year as opposed to traffic accidents,” Mr Katter said.
“E10 fuel or 10 per cent ethanol blend reduces vehicle exhaust particulate emissions by more than 25 per cent, providing cleaner air – pushing the use of E10 will literally save lives.
“It would also have to be one of the most cost effective ways of reducing carbon emissions.”
The Traeger MP said that state’s under-investment in the bio-fuels sector had impacted on the upcoming industry, with the proposed $640 million North Queensland Bio-Energy plant at Ingham halted earlier this year due to cost issues.
“The project in Ingham, the Pentland Bioengery Project and the Burdekin Austcane Project, are exactly those that could benefit from more government support to provide the state with alternative fuel,” he said.
“We need support for bio-fuels start-ups, and the Government also needed to compel major service stations in the state to sell E10.
“About 650 service stations in Queensland now sell it, but we want this sold all across the state, especially in strategic locations.”
In the last Parliament, the KAP passed a mandate requiring four percent of the total volume of regular unleaded petrol sales and ethanol fuel sales by liable retailers to be ethanol-blended fuel.
That mandate took effect on 1 July, this year, but the KAP wants the mandate increased to 10 per cent.
“The only real red signal sent to the market was the mandate forced into the last Parliament by the KAP, which has that has seen renewed investment in the industry,” he said.
“It is highly irresponsible for both State and Federal Governments to be just giving this industry lip service – we are being ripped off by the fuel industry and the Government is sitting on the sidelines.
“They now have the benefit of a bolstered multi-billion-dollar revenue stream from northern and regional Queensland as a result of the coal and minerals boom in the second half of this year.
“Some of that money needs to go directly into supporting the bio-fuels sector, which in turn supports the sugar industry as well as everyone in Queensland who drives a vehicle.”