Road stop ahead as Aust nears 100pc dependent on imported transport fuels 

February 25, 2014
Road stop ahead as Aust nears 100pc dependent on imported transport fuels

If tankers stop entering Australian ports tomorrow Australia has just three days of petrol in our service stations. A new report released by NRMA Motoring & Services shows Australias reliance on imported transport fuel has risen from 60 per cent in 2000 to 91 per cent in 2013, putting immense pressure on Australias liquid fuel security reserves.

Australias dependency on imported fuel and oil for transport has grown by more than 30 per cent from 60 per cent in 2000 to 91 per cent in 2013 and we are approaching 100 per cent dependency on imported transport fuels.

The report highlights:

The Australian Government should take control of the situation in 2014 by working with industry stakeholders to help secure Australias transport energy future via the Governments National Energy Security Assessment;

Australia is the only International Energy Association member that does not meet its90 day fuel stock obligation (60 days in May 2013, down from 71 days in October 2012); by 2030, Australias remaining five refineries could be closed leaving the country almost 100 per cent reliant on imported oil and facing a potential liquid fuel security crisis; and if tankers stopped entering Australian ports tomorrow, the nation would lose its capacity to transport food and medicine supplies very quickly.

Australia has just:

- three days of petrol in our service stations;

- seven days of pharmacy supplies in retail pharmacies; and

- seven days of chilled and frozen goods in our supermarkets.

NRMA Director Graham Blight said the report also contained possible solutions to those problems.

Its not too late for Australia to take steps that would help secure Australias transport energy future, Graham Blight said.

We have held roundtables with industry stakeholders including unions, fuel companies and transport organisations who have agreed that we must urge the Australian Government to take action.

The Governments National Energy Security Assessment will be reviewed again this year and its the ideal time for new policies to be implemented that would ensure Australias sustainability in the unlikely event of a disruption to our liquid fuel supply.

We do not want to scare people with our report, but facts are facts. Australias dependency on imported fuel and oil for transport has grown by more than 30 per cent from 60 per cent in 2000 to 91 per cent in 2013 and we are approaching 100 per cent dependency on imported transport fuels.

The report also highlights that Australia does not need to wait for the Governments assessment to start taking action.

Graham Blight said we could get thousands of trucks off the road and ease the wear and tear on our regional road network by getting more freight on rail, also improving road safety.

We have the capacity in this country to produce alternative fuels including biofuels and gas, he said.

The technology being developed for electric vehicles has advanced considerably in the past five years with the emergence of longer battery life, more charging stations and fleet trials by businesses and governments.

There are answers right in front of us to help secure our transport energy future that complement larger scale solutions, such as stopping the closure of refineries and increasing our stock of oil within our borders.

Other countries have addressed their transport fuel security future theres no reason why we cant address ours.

Editors note: The NRMAs Australias Liquid Fuel Security: Part 2 report was prepared by Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn AO (Retd) and can be downloaded at:

http://www.mynrma.com.au/about/reports-and-submissions.htm.