Tuesday, 16 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that, when his government made its fuel security announcement last September, there were four operational refineries in Australia and now there are just two, and those two are under immense pressure?
That is, indeed, correct. There is enormous pressure on those refineries in Australia, because of the significant changes that are going on regarding refinery capabilities all around the world and the competitiveness of that and the margins that are in those sectors, and that's why the government has taken a series of initiatives to address those very pressures. The government will continue to pursue those measures as we are dealing with those great challenges, and I will ask the minister for energy to add further to that.
Of course, we are very disappointed by ExxonMobil's recent decision to close the Altona refinery, and we are very conscious of the impact it will have on workers and their families. We'll work with Exxon and the Victorian government to ensure they get the support they need. But, as ExxonMobil has noted, this decision was not a reflection of local policy settings. And, as the Prime Minister has said, we've put in place a comprehensive package to ensure that we have the fuel security in this country that Australians deserve. That includes a mandatory minimum stockholding—an increase of 40 per cent in the diesel that will need to be held by importers, wholesalers, into the fuel market.
On top of that, we have committed to a production payment for the refineries. As ExxonMobil and BP have both pointed out, their decisions were made completely independent of those local policy settings. We can ensure Australians that fuel security is foremost in the focus of this government and was central to the package announced by the government last year.