Biofuel industry rejects Australian productivity report

By Queensland RFA | April 10, 2017

Queensland Renewable Fuels Association has refuted the negative comments regarding biofuels in the recent “Regulation of Australian Agriculture, Productivity Commission Inquiry Report.”

The inquiry report made the assertion that biofuel mandates impose an unnecessary cost on farmers and consumers, for “negligible environmental benefit.”

QRFA Managing Director Larissa Rose said QRFA contests the finding, as these comments made by the productivity commission do not represent facts.

“In making these claims the productivity commission has drawn flawed conclusions from poor evidence. Suggesting that agribusiness will suffer from biofuel mandates when it is a key diversification market for agriculture, is completely inaccurate,” Rose said.

By the productivity commission's own figures, farming businesses use 86 per cent diesel, a fuel completely unaffected by ethanol mandates. 

“In fact the opposite is true. It is the very products these (agricultural) businesses produce that are the feedstock for biofuels, creating sales, supporting business and boosting jobs,” she said. “This is exactly what Australian’s biofuel refineries do: support our nation's regional economy and provide us with low-carbon fuel.

“The biofuel industry is one with massive growth potential for Australia. The industry provides jobs and with further expansion has the capacity to increase the economic prosperity of regional areas that often suffer from lagging growth and high unemployment,” she said.

While rejecting the doubts raised in the productivity commission report, the QRFA congratulates the Queensland Parliament on their bipartisan support for the biofuels industry.  “We want the message out that Australian’s aren’t paying more for petrol due to the Queensland and New South Wales biofuel mandates,” Rose said. “We commented as such to the article in The Courier-Mail on the March 29, ‘Biofuel decree pumps up cost,’ and we will continue to educate industry and the general public on the environmental and economic benefits of biofuels.”

A biofuel mandate provides market certainty and encourages investment. “It is misleading to state that biofuel mandates raise the price of petrol.  E10 fuel is a 94RON fuel, a premium product in many respects that delivers lower emissions. The so-called higher cost is principally due to increasing, and frequently unnecessary, uptake of ‘premium’ 95 and 98 fuels. Now motorists are beginning to understand that you can get a higher octane fuel more cost-effectively with E10,” Rose said. With Australia already importing more than 90 per cent of its petroleum crude and finished products, supporting measures that will further increase dependence on foreign oil is irresponsible, she said, as are suggestions of importing biofuels from countries like Brazil as mentioned in the inquiry report.

For more information on the Australian mandate click here, or visit the QRFA website.