Budget commits $211 million for building domestic fuel storage facilities

The Caltex refinery plant in the Sydney suburb of Kurnell in  June 2017.

The Caltex refinery plant in the Sydney suburb of Kurnell in June 2017. Photo: AAP

The Morrison government is investing $211 million to build new domestic fuel storage facilities while backing local refineries to stay open.

The initiative to secure Australia’s long-term fuel supply, while keeping prices low for customers and creating 1000 new jobs, will form part of the government’s October 6 2020-21 budget.

It came after questions were raised in March about Australia keeping enough fuel onshore.

This led to a deal with the US for access to emergency oil supplies in the event of a major global disruption.

It complements the May release of the long-awaited ‘technology investment roadmap’ outlining Australia’s energy priorities, which was described by some critics as delusional.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia’s fuel security was essential for national security and that the country had been fortunate not to have experienced a significant fuel supply shock in more than 40 years.

“Our positive changes to the fuel market will ensure Australian families and businesses can access the fuel they need, when they need it, for the lowest possible price,” Mr Morrison said in a statement.

“Fuel security underpins our entire economy. Not only does it keep Australia moving, the industry supports thousands of people across the country and this plan is also about helping keep them in work.”

He said like all sectors of the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on Australia’s fuel industry and was a reminder not to be complacent.

“We need a sovereign fuel supply to shield us from potential shocks in the future,” he said.

Fuel for vehicles is just one aspect of the oil industry. Photo: Getty

Minister for Energy Angus Taylor said Australian refineries are under significant financial pressure and the government is committed to working with the sector to ensure it has a long-term future.

“Almost all Australians are reliant on fuel and it is the lifeblood of so many sectors in our economy,” Mr Taylor said.

“Our farmers and miners rely heavily on diesel to do their jobs and provide services, while the transport sector sources 98 per cent of its energy from liquid fuels.”

The package includes $200 million in a competitive grants program to build an additional 780 million litres of onshore diesel storage.


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