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Community & Business

11 June, 2022

Katter fuels need for energy capacity

WITH fuel prices surging towards the $2 a litre mark again and power costs to rise, Member for Kennedy Bob Katter says he will be pushing the new Labor Government to address fuel and electricity sovereignty with the development of bioenergy and biofuels.


Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter (right) with Member for Hill, Shane Knuth (left) at Tableland Sugar Mill, Arriga
Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter (right) with Member for Hill, Shane Knuth (left) at Tableland Sugar Mill, Arriga

The issue was front and centre of the Katter Australian Party’s election campaign, and with a pledge from Labor during the campaign to provide a $5 million grant towards the development of a Queensland biorefinery to transform sugarcane waste into jet fuel, Mr Katter wants them to go a step further. 

Mr Katter wants support for the installation of increased capacity of co-generation electricity and steam (made from bagasse) in the region’s sugar mills, as well as the development of plants that produce ethanol fuel and sustainable aviation fuel. 

With the war still raging in Ukraine which is affecting the world’s oil prices and China contuining its push into the South Pacific region, Mr Katter said fuel and electricity sovereignty and security had never been more essential. 

He believes moving on bioenergy and biofuels will allow Far North Queensland to lead Australia in providing critical, sustainable energy and fuel services, at an affordable price to the benefit of mills, growers, and the community at large.

“During this term of government, I will be pushing for a Sovereign Fuel Security Bill to be considered by Federal Parliament, which includes a nationwide renewable fuels mandate,” he said. 

“This would mean a nearly 20 per cent benefit from normal petrol prices to sugarcane farmers, and it would reduce the price of petrol as ethanol fuel would cost $1.05 to $1.10 a litre to produce.” 

Mr Katter said sugar mills were now in a unique position to provide baseload electricity if other agricultural and council waste can be used for power production in the months when cane isn’t being crushed. 

Currently Queensland’s sugar mills produce enough electricity to power the towns of Mackay and Bundaberg, and the Australian Sugar Milling Council says another 1,000 MWs could be developed. 

“Growers can’t compete with Brazil who have ethanol and Thailand and India who have heavy subsidies. 

Biofuels and bioenergy production would diversify income streams for growers and mills,” Mr Katter said. 

“Former Airforce Air Vice-Marshal, John Blackburn, is 100 per cent right in saying that a secure supply of electricity and fuel are essential for national security. 

“China has control of 40 per cent of the electricity industry. If electricity is cut off then you have no water supply and no sewerage, as they are powered by electric pumps. 

“Liddell coal fired power station is closing and if another two close, you’ll be on intermittent power. 

“You’ll have to pray to the good Lord that the sun shines at night and the wind blows 24/7. 

So, if we can get sustainable baseload power from our sugar mills than that will be a huge advantage. 

I will add that any new biofuels or bioenergy plants should be Australian owned.”

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