Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Matters of Public Importance
It is my pleasure to rise on this matter of public importance raised by the member for Kennedy, my electoral neighbour and good friend. I should say we're talking about fuel security here in Australia, and I want to begin by acknowledging some of the recent things that have happened in this space in Australia under the Morrison government, such as the minimum onshore stock holding obligation to safeguard key transport fuels, including increasing diesel stocks by 40 per cent. It's a very good start, a long way from where we were under previous policy. I also note the investment of over a quarter of a billion dollars in constructing new diesel storage to create about a thousand new jobs, but more importantly to increase diesel storage in strategic key locations across the nation, and also locking in our remaining refineries; they were dwindling and threatening to go by the wayside. Locking them in also gives us a level of security that we didn't have before. But it is probably an understatement to say that that's just a good start.
There is a lot more that needs to be done, because we are well short of international obligations of around 90 days of fuel security, which is considered what is needed by any sovereign nation to get through some crisis. If there were a situation where our shipping lines were cut and we were reliant on fuel coming in from another nation, we would be in a lot of trouble, which is why other avenues need to be explored, such as biofuels. The member for Kennedy and I have been long-time supporters of the idea of expanding the ethanol industry through a mandate. I drive on ethanol just about all the time. When I go to a bowser that has an E10 option, I use that. It's clean, it's efficient, it drives very well, and, on top of that, it is a green fuel. So we could do more by boosting that. There is so much more that could be done in that space.
In my remaining time, I want to respond to the first part of the member for Kennedy's matter of public importance, and that is the response to Glasgow COP26, and I have a response to Glasgow COP26. All of these international experts and politicians and all the rest of it flew into the home city of my mother, actually, God bless her. They flew into Glasgow, a place that, because of my grandparents and my mother, I thought was a place of common sense, but it seems a lot of uncommon sense flew in—nonsense, actually. They flew in on a cornucopia of different gas-guzzling jets, producing goodness knows how much in terms of emissions. And I've got to tell you that the summary of those proceedings was given by none other than climate activist Greta Thunberg at the beginning, where she said the words 'blah, blah, blah'. That's basically all that came out of COP26, apart from some personal emissions by the President of the United States in front of Camilla. We had Joe Biden falling asleep—again, a great summary of the proceedings of that event; Prince Charles doing a bit of stumbling; Obama thinking he was in the Emerald Isle; and CNN reporting that the conference was held in Edinburgh. How could you say that, as a son of a Glaswegian? But this is what it amounted to. Absolutely nothing over there. There were 140 countries getting together and voting on things like halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030, when most of them actually don't even have forests to speak of or have any that are in any danger of being whittled away. So that was Glasgow—a complete and utter waste of time for the entire world, one of the talkfests again that will just go down in the annals of history as complete stupidity. But what's going to come out of it, or what people are going to say is going to come out of it, are things that are going to affect our lives here in Australia, things that are going to affect our industries—the push for net zero, the push for closing down the coal industry by 2030. All of these things will be of great detriment to Australia and great detriment to the workers and businesses of Australia. So I think my response to Glasgow COP26, for the member for Kennedy's benefit, is that it wasn't just a waste of time; it was a dangerous waste of time.