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Monday, 24 March 2003
Page: 13302

Mr WINDSOR (2:53 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services. Minister, you would be aware of the $120 million worth of private sector investment proposed for the Gunnedah and Dalby ethanol plants and the $120 million for a natural gas pipeline that would, in a sense, guarantee the development of the Gunnedah plant. Given the urgency of this matter, when will the government mandate a minimum level of ethanol in Australian petrol and also ensure certainty for investors by guaranteeing a 38c per litre excise exemption in the long term for domestic production?

Mr ANDERSON (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) —I thank the honourable member for New England for his question. I think the only comment I would care to make at this stage is that the government is considering very closely a number of issues surrounding Australia's energy future, including the role that biofuels and ethanol might play in that. I hope we will be in a position to say something very shortly.