The Department of the Environment and Energy is conducting a Liquid Fuel Security review and public consultations on the Interim Report. This report is an edited version of The Australia Institute’s submission to that consultation.
The Interim Report on Liquid Fuel Security shows Australia is ill-equipped to deal with a liquid fuel security crisis. In FY2018 Australia had on average access to liquid fuel that would cover only 20 days of consumption. Alarmingly, the Interim Report reveals the emergency powers to ration fuel stocks would take up to three weeks to be implemented in the event of a fuel emergency.
The Interim Report makes it clear that producing more oil in Australia is a dubious response to the issue of fuel security. Australia’s oil production has already peaked and is likely to continue to decline. There is great uncertainty surrounding the scale, quality and viability of oil production in prospective resources like the Great Australian Bight and Beetaloo Basin.
Reducing oil use requires both increased fuel efficiency and substitution to non-oil based transport, including active transport, public transport, and electric passenger vehicles.
The Australia Institute strongly supports a review of the LFE Act, as announced by the Minister for Energy. The Review should refocus away from liquid fuel and towards transport, and ensure its scenarios integrate Paris-consistent emissions targets. The Department’s ongoing work in this area should include scenarios consistent with Australia’s commitment under the Paris Agreement to consider increasing targets consistent with a 2 degree budget.
In developing the final Review and relevant scenarios, the Department should ensure it consults with industries required to drive this transition and includes policies with specific electric vehicle targets and fuel efficiency standards.