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Posted on  

September 2, 2003

Ethanol group pushes for production

The Australian Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) has written to Prime Minister John Howard calling for the end of political squabbling over ethanol production.

ACE consists of 40 local government, regional chambers of commerce and industry, business groups and industry leaders from across Queensland.

It said Mr Howard should step into the debate on ethanol production in Australia to stop the industry being killed off, warning that hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure development slated for struggling rural areas could be lost.

ACE spokesman Chris Harrison said an open letter to the prime minister would be published in Australian newspapers on Monday in a bid to promote the benefits of the industry and clear up misconceptions about ethanol in petrol.

Mr Harrison said informed discussion about the ethanol industry had been forgotten in favour of cheap political point scoring that was messing with people's lives and livelihoods.

"It's the people of rural and regional Australia that are being caught in the middle of the political point scoring," Mr Harrison said in a statement.

Bio-Refinery Project manager and ACE member Bill Elliott said plans for an $80 million refinery at Dalby on the Darling Downs could be dead by next month unless the federal government offered more support.

Mr Elliott said the plant was in limbo while the industry waited for clarification of how long ethanol would be exempted from excise and warned that shareholders in the project would pull out unless the position was spelt out.

Mr Elliott said there were a number of misconceptions floating around about a 10 per cent blend of ethanol in petrol including that it would damage engines.

"We wanted to use this letter to the Prime Minister to set the record straight," Mr Elliott said.

"The bottom line is it will not harm your car, it will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and it will be beneficial to the health of many Australians who suffer from asthma and other lung related diseases," Mr Elliott said.



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