NATIONAL Road Transport Association boss Warren Clark has said that without access to fuel stocks, “we don’t have an industry”.

The comments came as the association provided its submission to the federal government in relation to work on securing Australia’s liquid fuel supply. The government has issued an interim report before it completes this work towards the end of 2019.

“We raised the issue of fuel security in our pre-budget submission made earlier this year. In that earlier communication, we said that the government’s review into fuel stocks should be fast-tracked as should returning Australia to holding 90 days’ worth of oil stocks, noting that the government has committed to returning to compliance by 2026,” Mr Clark said.

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The government’s interim report recognises that the transport sector is almost entirely reliant on liquid fuel – it sources 98% of its energy from liquid fuels, most of which are used in road transport where diesel fuel predominates.

“This means transport is the sector that is most vulnerable to impacts from liquid fuel disruptions,” Mr Clark said.

“The reality is that diesel enjoys a virtual monopoly in fuelling heavy freight vehicles. Most alternative fuels at the current stage of their development involve compromises – such as lower energy density, higher price, reduced driving range or lower thermal efficiency.

“NatRoad therefore fully supports the finding in the report that diesel fuel will be an important energy source for Australia beyond 2040.”

Mr Clark was quick to point out that the industry also supports the development of alternative fuels.

“But the reality is the time frame for these technologies to have an impact on the day-to-day operations of members:  we are looking at 10-20 years.  That time scale reinforces the need for government to have in place policies which secure Australia’s access to liquid fuels,” Mr Clark said.

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