A Shorten Labor Government will safeguard Australia’s fuel security with a boost to Australia’s fuel stocks – an important national security measure that will also protect our economy from global disruptions.
Australia used to be a net exporter of oil, but as we’ve become more reliant on the global fuel market we’ve also become more vulnerable to international risks and uncertainty.
It’s simple – to increase our national fuel security, we need to increase our national fuel stocks.
Labor will commence a detailed consultation process around the design of a government-owned National Fuel Reserve to boost Australia’s fuel stocks of emergency reserves.
Not only will this improve our national fuel security, it will also help us reach our stockpile target as a member of the International Energy Agency.
Australia, as a member of the International Energy Agency, is a party to the International Energy Program and treaty that requires all member net fuel importing states maintain oil stocks equivalent to at least 90 days net fuel imports. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that oil-importing countries can withstand disruptions to supply by releasing stockpiled oil and other fuels.
Today, Australia’s stocks are well below international treaty requirements of 90 days. According to the Department of Environment and Energy, Australia has just 19 days of automotive gasoline supply, 23 days of jet fuel supply, and 22 days of diesel supply.
Australia’s fuel stocks dropped below 90 days in 2012 – and we haven’t been able to get them back up to comply with the IEA. While Australia’s fuel reserves are below this amount, we remain vulnerable to risks in the international fuel supply chain.
We will consult with industry, oil and gas importers, refineries and with national security experts on the implementation of the government National Fuel Reserve.
Almost one year ago, a bipartisan report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security told the current government that ensuring a continuous supply of fuel was a matter of “national importance”.
Labor and Liberal members of that Committee called on the Department of Home Affairs to undertake a national security review of the fuel industry to ensure that Australia has a continuous supply of fuel to meet its national security priorities – particularly in times of heightened geo-political tensions.
The Committee told the government that the review should be completed within six months, but it didn’t happen.
Today’s announcement builds on Labor’s commitment to build a National Strategic Fleet to secure our access to fuel supplies, even in times of global instability. The Fleet is likely to include up to a dozen vessels including oil tankers, container ships and gas carriers.
Other first-world nations have established shipping fleets – Australia should too. Over the past 30 years, the number of Australian-flagged vessels has shrunk from 100 to now just 14. Compare that to Norway with 519 vessels carrying the Norwegian flag, the United Kingdom with 1157 flagged vessels and China with 4608 flagged vessels.
Labor is making strategic decisions to serve the nation’s economic, environmental and national security interests and building a stronger country for our future.