The manager of a bioethanol plant in Central Queensland says the State Government’s proposed mandate of 2 per cent ethanol in the state’s fuel would be too low to bring meaningful growth in the industry.

Wilmar Bioethanol general manager, Garry Mulvay, welcomed a discussion paper released by the Government last week, ahead of a bill it intends to introduce to parliament to boost the industry.

The most important proposal in the paper is for legislation to be passed, enforcing a minimum level of 2 per cent ethanol in fuel sold across the state, beginning July 1, 2016.

Mr Mulvay said 2 per cent is not ambitious enough and not much higher than what already exists without a mandate.

“I have a mixed reaction (to the discussion paper,)” he said.

“I am glad they are moving forward with the mandate and I think that is a positive thing for the industry, but at 2 percent, I think the level is too low to start with.

“Queensland got to a level of about 3 per cent without a mandate in 2009, so the capacity is there to go to a higher blend rate of 3 or 4 per cent a lot faster.

“I would also like it to start sooner.

“I don’t see why it couldn’t start in January.”

Former Labor premier, Peter Beattie, introduced a policy that would have resulted in a mandated level of ethanol in Queensland’s petrol in 2010, but that policy fell over and never eventuated.

Mr Mulvay said the industry had begun investing leading up to 2010 to make the most of that policy, only to see it disappear.

Wilmar invested $30 million in its facility in Sarina, which currently produces 60 million litres of ethanol per year, but has capacity to produce 90 million litres.

Energy Minister, Mark Bailey, visited the Sarina plant in April and announced the Government’s intention to produce the discussion paper and, subsequently, a bill to parliament.

He released the paper on Thursday and told Parliament the state could grow the number of jobs in the sector.

The starting mandate of 2 per cent would be a starting point, with the possibility of gradually rising.

“We will work closely with industry on the amount of the mandate so that it grows in line with production capacity,” Mr Bailey said.

“Importantly, we want local industries to capture the market share to ensure that any ethanol sold in Queensland comes from Queensland.

“There’s also an opportunity to boost the use of biofuels like biodiesel blends to take advantage of the growing demand for diesel.”

Mr Bailey said a study by Deloitte Access Economics and the Queensland University of Technology predicts bio-refining in all its forms could contribute more than $1.8 billion in gross state product to Queensland and create up to 6,640 jobs over the next 20 years.

Extracted in full from ABC.