Earlier this week, the NSW Government released its Biofuels Exemption Guidelines.

The Guidelines set out the conditions under which a fuel retailer might seek to be excluded from the new biofuels laws that come into force on 1 January 2017, including details on the information that will likely need to be supplied in support of an application.

The Guidelines can be accessed via http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/biz_res/ftweb/pdfs/Businesses/Biofuels_industry/Biofuels_mandate_exemption_framework.pdf

A quick analysis of the Guidelines reveals that the conditions under which a fuel retailer might seek an exemption include:

* An inability to secure supply
* High capital upgrade costs are required for compliance. This consideration can also take account for money spent on compliance costs over the past two years
* High recurrent costs associated with the transport of biofuels to the retail site, making it difficult for the retailer to supply fuel to the market at a competitive cost
* A combination of high capital and recurrent costs
* Lead times on infrastructure works resulting in the business being unable to comply in the near term. The maximum period for this type of exemption is two years.
* Other commercial and economic grounds including the fact that the necessary upgrade works would require the site to be closed for 28 Days or more.

“Member businesses are encouraged to have a close look at the Exemption Guidelines if they believe that they will encounter difficulties in complying with the new laws”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

It should be noted that businesses not previously covered by the old Biofuels Mandate have been given until 1 April 2017 to comply with the new laws, providing time for a business to consider how they might best comply and whether there are reasonable grounds for their sites to be exempted from the Biofuels mandate.

NSW Fair Trading has advised that arrangements are being made for applications for exemption to be uploaded electronically via the NSW Fair Trading Website and that this facility will be made available in early January 2017.