The Australian Trucking Association is asking why is the Australian diesel reserve in the US? It has condemned the Government’s decision to establish its fuel reserve in the United States saying it is a serious strategic error. The federal opposition has described the decision as bizarre.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor announced that the Australian government is setting up a $94 million strategic fuel reserve in the United States.
Countries are obliged, under international conventions, to hold 90 days worth of fuel as a buffer against disruption to the global fuel supply chain. Australian Petroleum Statistics put our reserve at 55 days at the end of 2019.
By another measure the ATA reckons, Australia had just 24 consumption days of petrol and 22 consumption days of diesel in stock at that time.
“The move to establish our strategic fuel reserve in the United States is both a national economic issue, and a national security issue,” said Geoff Crouch, ATA Chair.“Angus Taylor has said himself that that it could take up to 40 days for fuel to make its way from the US to Australia. That means Australia would be brought to a standstill for up to 16 days with no access to fuel.
According to the Minister the reason for storing the fuel in the US is because there is not enough storage facilities available here in Australia to handle this size of reserve. In his statement he did indicate the government would be working with the industry to increase that capacity, but did not mention a time line for this process.
“Liquid fuel is critical to trucking and critical for our economy. Without trucks and the fuel that powers them, Australia stops,” said Geoff. “As most commodities produced or consumed in Australia are delivered by road, no fuel means supermarkets would go empty, medicines wouldn’t get delivered and rubbish bins wouldn’t get emptied”