Powerful Queensland crossbencher Rob Katter says he’s “highly cynical” of the Palaszczuk government’s announcement it will add ethanol to fuel, saying it appeared to be a “kite-flying exercise” to appease his party.

The state government today revealed it intended to require big oil companies to “make available an ethanol blend in their fuel”, a process that would be rolled out gradually.

Katter’s Australian Party, which holds two of the four crossbench seats in Queensland’s finely balanced hung parliament, has long pushed for an ethanol mandate.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said regular unleaded petrol would still be available in Queensland, and drivers could still elect to use that fuel. However, he said the ethanol blend’s gradual introduction would be aimed at using Queensland cane to produce the environmentally friendly fuel.

The government will consult on the proposal and release a discussion paper late next month. A Bill will also be introduced.

Mr Katter told The Australian he was “highly cynical” of the government’s announcement.

“I’d hope this is not a kite-flying exercise to appease the KAP,” he said.

“They weren’t talking about ethanol before. No one was talking about a biofuel mandate before the election.”

He said he would not be satisfied unless an independent commission ran the rollout of ethanol in fuel, to lessen the impact of lobbying by the big oil companies.

Mr Katter said the government had made the announcement without consultation with the KAP and criticised it for not using the word “mandate” in its release.

Extracted in full from The Australian.