The Geelong refinery will be handed $125 million by the Morrison government as it moves to introduce cleaner petrol into the market by 2024.

Under a $250m deal with the Commonwealth, Viva Energy will match the government money, and commit $125m to upgrade its facility to bring forward production of ultra-low sulphur petrol from 2027 to 2024.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government would also commit $125m to Australia’s other refinery at Brisbane, and both investments would secure Australian fuel production and supply in the face of global uncertainty.

“These investments also protect the 1,250 existing refinery jobs and support the creation of around 500 more construction jobs across Lytton in Brisbane and Geelong,” Mr Morrison said.

A government spokeswoman said the funding would create 300 construction jobs in the Geelong region.

Mr Morrison said the government support for the refining sector meant fuel could be produced “even in the most challenging of times” to keep the economy running.

“Cutting the fuel tax and this fuel security package put Australian motorists and businesses first.

“Our plan for a stronger future locks in Australia’s refining capabilities and will ensure upgrades are made to improve the quality of our fuel.”

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said the government money would support refining capability, safeguard fuel security and provide health benefits for Australians.

“Bringing forward the roll-out of ultra-low sulphur fuel from 2027 to 2024 will deliver significant health benefits for Australians through improved air quality. This is estimated to result in $1.02 billion in avoided health costs,” Mr Taylor said.

“These grants are the next step in the Morrison Government delivering on our commitment to support Australian domestic refiners to keep producing local fuel for Australian motorists.

“We will continue to ensure Australian families and local industry can access the quality fuel they need, when they need it through our fuel security package.

“As well as enabling the production of better quality fuels, our landmark refinery production payments continue to provide taxpayers with lower than budgeted payments, with both refineries not needing any support in the second quarter.”

Due to improved margins in recent months, Viva will not receive government support for refining fuel for Australian uses in the last quarter of 2021.

It comes after Viva was paid $12.45m by the federal government for refining work it completed in the September quarter last year.

Liberal candidate for Corangamite Stephanie Asher said the government funding would deliver more jobs to the region, a cleaner environment and better health outcomes — all objectives of her local plan.

Victorian Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson said the funding would help secure about 700 jobs at the Geelong refinery.

“This targeted upgrade will further boost local employment, increase domestic fuel security and improve air quality,” Ms Henderson said.

Extracted in full from: Geelong refinery: ultra-low sulphur fuel by 2024 following $125m from Commonwealth | Geelong Advertiser