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Truss applauds $1.5 billion boost for alternative fuels.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Warren Truss MP Minister for Transport and Regional Services

14 August 2006 130WT/2006


All Australians now have a golden opportunity to get behind home-grown alternative fuels following the release of a $1.5 billion Australian Government package today.

The Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss, said he was particularly pleased the Australian Government has agreed to fund research into converting coal and gas to liquids.

"I have been speaking about the merits of such projects for months and this commitment now is a giant step towards eventually using more of our own natural resources as part of the nation's fuel mix.

"If we can produce it here, why import?

"Australia has plentiful supplies of liquid petroleum gas and offering $1,000 for factory fitting of LPG fuel tanks and $2,000 for retro-fitting vehicles is a very positive step.

"Similarly, we have enormous opportunities now to encourage Australians to use ethanol in their day-to-day motoring. Petrol stations will be supported so they can install E10 pumps and given further assistance when sales targets are met, thereby encouraging retailers to discount the price of E10.

"Renewable resources like solar and wind energy will be boosted by the continuation of the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program which aims to replace diesel generation of power. Funding for geo-scientific and seismic work to help in the search for new prospective oil fields in Australia will also be widely welcomed.

"Hybrid vehicles are likely to be part of the future and it is well worth our while to consider development of these more fuel efficient vehicles.

"This is a visionary package that will deliver dividends in the years and decades to come. Petrol prices may be high for some time to come and it is important that we act reasonably to reduce the price of fuel where we can.

"I call on the Australian Labor Party to finally apologise to the nation for the disgraceful slur campaign of 2002 and 2003 that was waged against ethanol and, by extension, other biofuels.

"Its claims of damaged engines were completely untrue, but Labor has never recanted. All of that party's weasel words since about a new-found support for ethanol and other biofuels will count for nothing if Labor doesn't do the right thing now.

"It is also worth reminding Australians that if Labor's fuel excise regime had continued and not been capped by the Coalition in 2001, then motorists would be paying 8.5 cents a litre more at the bowsers today. It's worth noting that the ALP has never completely supported the excise freeze," Mr Truss said.


Media Contacts

Paul Chamberlin ( Mr Truss's office ) 02 6277 7680 / 0419 233 989