OPINION: Energy minister promotes new biofuel focus

THE Palaszczuk Government plans to unlock the untapped potential of Queensland's biofuels and bio-manufacturing industries by introducing an ethanol mandate to steer the state towards a cleaner, greener energy future.

The economic and environmental benefits of ethanol are recognised worldwide and we want Queensland to be part of this sustainable energy solution.

We will work closely with industry on the amount of the mandate so that it grows in line with production capacity. We want local industry to capture the market share to ensure that any ethanol sold in Queensland comes from Queensland.

There's also the opportunity to boost the use of biofuels like biodiesel blends to take advantage of the growing demand for diesel.

There are several bio plants on the drawing board in Queensland, plus two in development, with strong interest from a private sector keen to explore opportunities.

This is backed by a joint Deloitte Access Economics/QUT study that predicts bio-refining in all its forms could contribute more than $1.8 billion in gross state product to Queensland and create up to 6640 jobs over the next 20 years.

Later this month, we will release an ethanol biofuels discussion paper and hold forums across the state to encourage industry stakeholders and the community to have their say about the ethanol mandate. By working together we can all help shape the future of this exciting and growing industry.

Consultation will look at consumer protections and consumer education around the benefits of E10.

Importantly, regular unleaded petrol will still be available at petrol stations in Queensland. If drivers don't want to use ethanol fuels, they won't have to.

A bill will be introduced into parliament to set the framework for the mandate and we will work closely with all members of parliament to seek their support to pass legislation by the end of the year.

Early feedback from the RACQ, the Canegrowers and the Australian Sugar Milling Council has been encouraging and I look forward to hearing your views and working with you as we embark on an exciting new era in biofuel technology.

Hon Mark Bailey MP

Minister for Energy

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