The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed initiatives by the Federal Government to enhance Australia’s fuel security.
The Government has opened a Request for Information (RFI) process to identify opportunities to increase Australia’s domestic fuel storage capacity.
“It is important that viable storage options are identified through this process,” NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.
“We welcomed the Australian Government’s recent purchase of $94 million worth of oil for a strategic reserve, however this oil is currently stored in the United States which is not helpful if supply chains are compromised.
“Should any sort of supply chain disruption occur, it is not certain that this oil would reach Australia quickly enough. It is crucial that the strategic reserve is stored in Australia.”
The Government has also commenced a long-term strategic study of Australia’s domestic refining industry.
The objective of this study is to maintain the long-term fuel security of Australia.
Mr Mahar acknowledged this as an equally important step.
“An onshore strategic reserve will not achieve its purpose if the oil cannot also be refined onshore.
“Having to ship this oil to offshore refineries before it can be used by Australian businesses and consumers re-exposes the country to the risks which an onshore reserve is intended to avoid.”
Mr Mahar stressed that fuel security was vital to Australian farmers and the wider food and fibre supply chain.
“Diesel fuel makes up about 84% of on-farm energy use. When considered with the fuel used to transport produce to market, it is critical that farm businesses have confidence that their fuel supply will be uninterrupted.”
“An onshore strategic reserve and long-term domestic refining capacity will help provide this confidence.
“There is however, more work to be done, and we look forward to working constructively with the Government in its efforts to bolster Australia’s fuel security,” Mr Mahar said.
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