Nick McLaren, 23 March 2016

It is hoped the State Government’s biofuels amendment bill will breath new life into the ethanol industry, but the legislation is also triggering renewed debate.

Upper House whip Peter Phelps quit the role due to his opposition to the bill that was passed Tuesday night.

The goal of the bill is to force small retailers to meet the Government’s 6 per cent ethanol mandate by applying fines of up to $550,000 for business owners who do not comply with requirements to sell E-10 fuel.

Mr Phelps said he opposed the legislation because it has the potential to criminalise service station owners.

“As far as I am concerned that is the most illiberal policy I can possibly think of,” he said.

“We are criminalising a business for the purchase, the lawful purchase decisions of their customers.

“That’s insane in my view.”

The NSW Greens do not support the change.

Spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said the bill was passed by Liberal and Labor who receive enormous political donations from the Manildra Group.

He said the support for E-10 amounts to a major government subsidy to the industry, without any tangible environmental benefits.

“No environmental group out there saying this type of ethanol is a good outcome, not one anywhere,” he said.

Local Kiama MP Gareth Ward said the legislation would help guarantee the continuation of 300 local jobs in the Shoalhaven.

“I am proud about the fact that this mandate means that the jobs at Manildra are secure and that ethanol will continue to be produced in New South Wales,” he said.

Bomaderry-based ethanol fuel manufacturer Manildra Group issued a statement on the benefits of E-10 fuel.

The company said ethanol saves consumers money at the pump and 63 countries have national biofuel mandates or targets.

“The current ethanol industry in Australia supports 3,000 direct jobs, a further 20,000 indirect jobs and 5,000 grain, sugar and sorghum farmers,” the statement said.

Extracted in full from ABC News.