Back Home National Party Media Releases Speeches Achievements Archive Photos eMail Us
B2004/10 - Ethanol can be mandated

Premier Beattie is failing his responsibilities to the sugar industry by refusing to commit to mandating the use of ethanol in fuel using the excuse the State government cannot do it.

Leader of The Nationals in the Senate, Ron Boswell, said he had independent legal advice from three independent sources that the State Government is constitutionally able to act to help the industry by mandating ethanol content in fuel.

These confirm that there are no restrictions on the Queensland government mandating ethanol up to 10 per cent.

“But true to form, Beattie is running away from the sugar industry and will not commit to an ethanol mandate,” Senator Boswell said.

Senator Boswell said the Australian Government has already provided more than $20 million to canefarmers of the $120 million it committed to the sugar industry.

“The Federal Government has shown its support for the industry by capping the level of ethanol in fuel at 10%, reducing the excise on ethanol from 38 cents to 12 cents and providing a support package of $37 million.

It’s time for the Labor state government to do its bit and face it’s responsibilities to the Queensland sugar industry.

“Ethanol is a real alternative for the sugar industry. Beattie must be prepared to listen to and act on behalf of the industry. He should be doing all he can as Premier.

”Senator Boswell said it is only a coalition government in Queensland that will be able to mandate ethanol. A vote for an independent certainly won’t get ethanol mandated in Queensland.

Contact 3001 8150 / 0428 450 942

Comments to Richard Hudson ABC Radio, Cairns

4 February 2004

Thomas Bradley, Barrister

The Federal Fuel Quality Standards Act specifically allows State and Territory Parliaments to pass their own laws about fuel quality. The only relevant limit on ethanol is a maximum of 10% by volume.

The Queensland Parliament is able to enact a law fixing a minimum ethanol content for fuel sold in Queensland, provided it does not exceed 10%.

Mr Barton is referring to the Mutual Recognition laws that allow, for example, a New South Wales fuel refiner to sell fuel in Queensland, provided it could lawfully be sold in New South Wales. This means the State Parliament couldn’t stop the sale of inter-state fuels in Queensland. It doesn’t stop Queensland requiring fuel refined here to have a minimum ethanol content.

This could introduce an interesting dynamic into the market, when sugar and grain prices are down or oil prices are high, so it’s cheaper to include ethanol in fuel, more Queensland refined fuels might be sold in New South Wales, but when sugar and grain prices are high or oil prices are low, more New South Wales refined fuel might be sold in Queensland.

Section 9 Relationship to State and Territory laws
(1) Subject to this section, it is the intention of the Parliament that this Act is not to apply to the exclusion of a law of a State or Territory to the extent that the law is capable of operating concurrently with this Act.
(2) It is the intention of the Parliament that, to the extent prescribed by the regulations, this Act is to apply to the exclusion of a law of a State or Territory relating to:
(a) the supply of fuel that is the subject of a fuel standard; or
(b) a supply of fuel that is subject to a fuel quality information standard.
Section 9 Entitlement to sell goods
The mutual recognition principle is that, subject to this Part, goods produced in or imported into the first State, that may lawfully be sold in that State either generally or in particular circumstances, may, because of this Act, be sold in the second State either generally or in particular circumstances (as the case may be), without the necessity for compliance with further requirements as described in section 10.
Thomas Bradley provides legal advice to the National Party