The Baird Government needs to come clean on the future of ethanol production in NSW, following a secret review of the 6 per cent ethanol mandate.
Premier Baird and Energy Minister Anthony Roberts have been sitting on a report by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal since May and have not disclosed its terms of reference.
The secrecy of the review has raised fears that the Baird Government is retreating from ethanol – a move that could have dire consequences for the Illawarra where the factory that produces ethanol is based. The Manildra factory in Bomaderry employs around 300 people.
The Office of Biofuels NSW, the government agency responsible for ensuring that ethanol-blended petrol, such as E10, is widely available in NSW, has also been abolished.
Latest results show that the NSW Government is only meeting about half of the mandate of the total volume of petrol sold in NSW as ethanol.
Quotes attributable to Adam Searle Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy:
“This entire process has been cloaked in a veil of secrecy. There has been no public consultation and now we find that the Government is sitting on the independent regulator’s report into the future of the ethanol mandate.”
“If this Government is really committed to ethanol then it needs to enforce the mandate and ensure it is kept alive. In reality it is letting the industry wither on the vine.”
Quotes attributable to Ryan Park, Shadow Minister for the Illawarra:
“Kiama MP Gareth Ward needs to come clean with the local community and tell them what his Government plans to do with ethanol production.
“This is not the way to conduct Government and nor is it the way to treat the people of the Illawarra. Why has this report been kept secret? Gareth Ward should know better but unfortunately he doesn’t.”