State KAP Leader and Member for Traeger has today launched a call for action across all levels of government to establish a sustainable ethanol fuel industry in Australia.
In a speech delivered in the Queensland Parliament last night, Mr Katter was scathing of the current State Government’s failure to ensure the ethanol fuel mandate agreed upon in late 2015 was being adhered to.
The latest figures the KAP has obtained show that the ethanol-blended fuel sale rate in Queensland is at only 1.73 per cent, less than half the 4 per cent that is mandated and far below the KAP’s ultimate target of 10 per cent.
Mr Katter said it was unacceptable that fuel companies were being allowed to scrimp on their responsibilities to adhere to the legally-required mandate, all the while engaging in unfair practices like price-gouging that hurt consumers in their
hip pockets and contribute significantly to spiralling costs of living.
In recent days, the RACQ and price monitoring service fuelTRAC warned that petrol prices could soar in the coming months to $1.65/L in south east Queensland.
In the North and in the regions this figure could be even higher.
Mr Katter said at present Australia had no genuine fuel security, and a lack of government focus on and investment in the ethanol industry was costing Queensland vital jobs.
He said moving towards ethanol-based fuel could also have a huge impact on reducing the state’s carbon emissions, a target the Palaszczuk Labor Government claims to be fiercely committed to.
“Our sugar cane farmers need support – the sugar industry is currently under attack by the State Government and it would not be exaggerating to say its future is at stake,” he said.
“If we allowed this industry to value-add by establishing a sustainable and profitable ethanol industry, it would be win-win for all.
“If anyone wants action on fuel price, this is the way we can make it happen – by producing our own.
“Unfortunately the market for E10 is being severely manipulated by the major oil companies to try discourage consumers from purchasing it, but the national interest relying on success of the biofuels industry greatly outweighs this.
“It’s a cop out to say consumers don’t want ethanol-blended fuel, and its pathetic form from our leaders to cough this argument up and leave ethanol in the ‘too hard’ basket.
“In the United States, 98 per cent of all unleaded petrol sold contains 10 per cent ethanol and there are 64 countries in the world that mandate it and enforce it, but it is not enough to mandate it without enforcement.
“We need strong and immediate crack down by the State Government on the fuel companies who are not meeting their 4 per cent requirement, and we need to look at increasing this mandate in the coming years.”
Mr Katter said it beggared belief that so many Queensland and Australian politicians claimed to be committed to “tackling climate change”, yet there had been little definitive action on cleaning up the nation’s fuel emissions.
“People ask me “What do you do about climate change? What action can you take?” and I say that we can start by pushing an ethanol mandate, because 10 per cent ethanol in your fuel can reduce your tailpipe emissions by between 25-30
per cent,” he said.
“If we did that for every car in Queensland not powered by diesel, it would be a fantastic contribution to reducing carbon emissions and creating cleaner air.”
Mr Katter said fuel companies and consumers readily adapted to the phasing out of leaded fuel in the 1980s because it was in the national interest.
The same route needed to be taken now in relation to ethanol-blended fuel, he said.