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B2004/26 - LABOR DOING OIL COMPANY’S BIDDING ON ETHANOL

“The ALP is doing the bidding of the major oil companies by questioning the Government’s support for the fledgling ethanol industry,” Senator for Queensland, Ron Boswell, said today.

Speaking in the Senate on the Cleaner Fuels bill, Senator Boswell said a significant ethanol industry was a vital part of regional Australia future’s and closely linked to the future viability of the sugar industry.

“In its response to the Bill’s introduction however, the ALP questioned the Government’s ethanol support, and constantly queried any benefit that may accrue to the Manildra Group.

“It seems obvious that a Labor Government would be completely under the spell of the oil companies,” Senator Boswell said.

“It is not surprising that ethanol production and its inclusion in transport fuels has been fought by the petroleum industry. Exactly the same thing happened in the USA over 20 years ago.”

“What is surprising is the Labor party’s acceptance of this position and its blind allegiance to their mantra to oppose the development of an ethanol industry.”

“Today Labor Party Senator Wong said, “overall, the fabric of the government’s alternative fuels policy is piecemeal, driven by industry interests, is oblivious to the needs of consumers or taxpayer, is riddled with pernicious dealism and is a return to McEwen protectionism.”

“Add this to Labor’s Lindsay Tanner questioning any financial support for the sugar industry (CPSU rally 24.2.04) and Mark Latham’s claim he will refer any sugar package to a lengthy Senate Inquiry, and there is a distinct lack of support or interest in the sugar and ethanol industries from the ALP.”

Senator Boswell said in no country in the world have the major oil companies voluntarily facilitated access for competitor fuels, such as ethanol, into transport fuel markets that they dominate. World wide, mandates or regulated use of biofuels based on cleaner air and health, have been necessary to provide free and open access to transport fuel market.

“In America, the oil industry fought like wounded bulls to keep control of their cosy existence and market domination. The oil companies questioned the environmental and health values of ethanol, they questioned the risk to engine function and warrantees and questioned the economic viability of ethanol production.

“Now, years later after US government production assistance and clean air legislation, ethanol production has grown to over 10 billion litres per year and is expected to exceed 20 billion litres by 2012.

“In the US, there are currently 70 ethanol production plants on line, with a further 13 plants, each with a capacity of over 110 million litres under construction.

“Numerous studies in the states have reported massive increases in air quality as well as major health benefits to their citizens.

“The introduction of ethanol into the American fuel supply has had no impact at all on the price of fuel; it is blended in to 30% of America’s gasoline.

“Replacing MTBE’s with ethanol in California reduced average prices for reformulated gasoline in 2003 by 8c per gallon.

“These are the real facts of what has happened in the States, but I am sure it is not what the oil companies, nor the Labor Party want to hear,” Senator Boswell said.

Ends

Media contact – Senator Ron Boswell, phone 02 6277 3244