Sep 2017

Oil and gas vested interests get in the way of sound ethanol policy

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11 September 2017: KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has today introduced, for the sixth time, legislation mandating ethanol and highlighted that why, after six introductions into Parliament, the ALP and LNP have not mandated ethanol.

“The only country on earth outside the oil producing countries (that doesn’t have ethanol) is Australia. Why do we have this anomaly? Why are we the only country on earth…?,” Mr Katter asked.

Mr Katter pointed to the post-political careers of four former Federal Energy and Resources Ministers.

“Mr John Anderson was the first minister who made the decision to reject ethanol. He represents a red-hot area for ethanol: it's a big grain-growing area. He was later appointed a director of Santos; he stepped down this year. He made the decision against ethanol and then he was appointed a director of an oil, gas and minerals company.

“Mark Vaile was the second minister who rejected ethanol. He later became a director of Santos, another oil, gas and minerals company.

“The next one was Martin Ferguson. For those in this place who think that I'm making a partisan point, the first two were in the National Party and Martin Ferguson is in the Labor Party. He is on WesTrac, he is the chair of an advisory board at Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Associations and he is a non-executive director of British Gas, the biggest gas-producing company in the world.

“The last one was Ian Macfarlane. He is the non-executive director of Woodside and head of the Queensland Resources Council, which is oil, gas and minerals. This is an exercise in impropriety,” Mr Katter asserted.

“People like myself have to say that the ALP and the LNP indulge in some towering hypocrisy here.

“They could introduce ethanol tomorrow, but of course they'd upset their rich donors from the oil companies and the gas companies if they did. And the proof of the cake is where each of these ministers is now receiving income—from the oil companies and the gas companies, ” Mr Katter said.

Mr Katter pointed to the four fundamental reasons that ethanol should go ahead: health, agriculture, fuel security and petrol prices.

“Mr Iemma, when he introduced it into the New South Wales parliament said, 'I can't go another day with the death of people on my conscience, who simply don't have to die.' It doesn't seem to have worried successive governments in this place.”

“The most distinguished medical journal in the world has released figures – if you double the amount of small particles (in the air with ordinary fuel) then you double the number of deaths from lung disease and pulmonary diseases for the heart and lungs.”

“In sugar we have been closing a sugar mill every two years and our industry is slowly grinding out of existence.

“And why - because we can’t compete. The value of our currency plus the massive direct subsidies in America and Europe make it impossible to compete.

“The Brazilians have been getting $420 per tonne for their sugar, yet we get $340 per tonne – the vast bulk of the Brazilian cane goes to the ethanol stream, while ours goes to the sugar stream,” Mr Katter said.

Mr Katter also pointed to Australia’s desperately low fuel security.

“Ninety-three per cent of Australia's motor vehicle fuel is now imported. In total, we only have two weeks' storage capacity. So if a couple of dozen of tankers are blown up then in Australia we will walk, quite literally.”

Mr Katter said finally that the price of petrol under ethanol made it a no-brainer.

“The world price for petrol is AUD$.65c per litre yet the average price in Australia is AUD$1.15 per litre.

“Sending $25,000 million a year to the Middle East to buy oil, instead of sending it into rural Australia, is brainless stupidity.

“And what a ‘no brainer’ it is – to send $25,000 million into regional Australia where we are reeling in pain, or to the Middle East,” Mr Katter said.

The Renewable Fuel Bill 2017 will see ethanol flow from every petrol bowser in Australia at a minimum of 5% from 2019 and 10% from 2022.

The introduction of the Bill into Federal Parliament today follows a win by the KAP in Queensland late 2015 which will see a 4% ethanol mandate in Queensland from 2018.

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