If a biofuel forum was held in a sugar cane town and only five people turned up, was a forum really held?

Well, yes, says Energy Minister Mark Bailey who remains undeterred from continuing his biofuel forum tour across Queensland, despite a disappointing turn out in Bundaberg.

As part of its commitment to review and consult on commitments, the government has launched a discussion paper on the topic and given Mr Bailey the job of speaking with stakeholders.

Biofuel, in particular an ethanol mandate in fuels, forms a key part of the Katter Party demands for support, which in the state’s hung parliament, is worth its weight in gold.

The LNP has also committed to an ethanol mandate.

Labor is exploring a two per cent ethanol target, and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been spruiking the state’s biofuel potential during her first trade mission in the United States.

But The Bundaberg News Mail reported its community was a little underwhelmed by the forum, with just five people attending the Monday event, which had been catered for more than 30.

Mr Bailey, through his office, was holding the line.

“It was attended by farmers and Bundaberg engineers who design sugar refining equipment – people with expertise the Palaszczuk Government is listening to as it moves to legislate an ethanol mandate,” a spokesman for Mr Bailey said.

“A discussion paper exploring a two per cent ethanol target was released earlier this month and Mr Bailey is visiting regional areas across the state seeking feedback on Labor’s vision to create Queensland jobs and support local industry through an environmentally-friendly energy source.”

Mr Bailey’s spokesman reported more than “40 people attended the first forum at Dalby, in a grain growing area, which was held during the evening.”

The Bundaberg forum was a day event.  Timing, it seems, is everything.

“A majority of the forums across the state are being held at 5.30pm.”

To respond to the government’s proposal, send an email to to biofuels@dews.qld.gov.au by 5pm on Friday, 3 July.

The government plans to introduce its biofuel legislation by the end of the year.

Extracted in full from the Brisbane Times.