Agforce grain president Wayne Newton.
Agforce grain president Wayne Newton.

AgForce pushes for increase in biofuels mandate

AGFORCE is pushing for the Queensland Government to raise its biofuels mandate to avoid failing to generate regional jobs.

The agricultural group's grains president, Wayne Newton, said the government's preferred 2% mandate was only slightly higher than current production.

Mt Isa MP Robbie Katter went further, saying the existing production capacity was more than 4%.

Katter's Australian Party is pushing for a 5% mandate.

AgForce's submission to a parliamentary committee recommended a mandate of at least 5%, with incremental increases.

But Energy Minister Mark Bailey said 2% tried to get the balance between the current demand for ethanol in fuels and a steady rise for the industry.

Mr Katter was confident he could get the government to raise the mandate.

Mr Bailey said they would consider incremental increases.

"It will require a gradual increase in consumption when it comes into effect - so there will be a ramp-up," he said.

AgForce is calling on the government to support its recommendations, including support for research of suitable plant species and other biomass sources and an education campaign about biofuels.

"This mandate also fails to provide any future growth targets beyond mid-2016 so there's no incentive for new processors and more competition," Mr Newton said.

Mr Bailey said most of AgForce's proposals were already under consideration or at the development stage.

He said a targeted education campaign is being developed to support the proposed ethanol mandate.

Incremental increases to the mandate are the subject of a biofuels consultation paper released today.

Go to dews.qld.gov.au/energy-industry/renewable-energy/projects/biofuel-mandate to view the paper.

- APN NEWSDESK


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