The announcement by the Morrison Government to help secure the country’s refining sector is an appropriate response to a challenging long-term issue, says Australia’s peak employer group for the resources and energy industry.
“As the country continues its COVID-19 recovery, the government’s fuel security package gives certainty to key industries and employers reliant on fuels for day-to-day operations,” Steve Knott AM, Chief Executive of Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA, said.
“Ensuring Australia has a strong local refining sector and capacity for sovereign fuel production is a matter of economic and national security. The loss of national refinery capabilities would have clear defence implications.
“These measures are vital to building sovereign capacity and will allay concerns about Australia’s fuel security during uncertain global economic times. Significantly more work will be required to ensure a viable and healthy Australian refining sector in the long term.”
The 2021-22 Budget initiatives includes a variable Fuel Security Service Payment (FSSP) to the refineries, and up to $302 million in support for major refinery infrastructure upgrades to help refiners bring forward the production of better-quality fuels from 2027 to 2024.
“Australia’s refining capacity has been in decline for more than a decade, with the COVID-19 pandemic further accelerating the need for financial support for our two remaining refineries. Without this support, Australia would be at the mercy of imported fuels,” Mr Knott said.
“The government’s initiatives in this area will protect families and businesses from higher fuel prices. Following stronger than expected national figures, the result is further good news for employment, with 1250 direct jobs across the Lytton and Geelong refineries.”
The package also assists environmentally through the ability to produce better quality, cleaner fuels, improving air quality and deliver associated health benefits.
AMMA also welcomes the Morrison Government’s commitment to accelerate the industry-wide review of the petrol and diesel standard to 2021, including consideration of future fuel technologies and other development opportunities.