Sydney, Australia, May 17 (EFE).- The Australian government on Monday announced an AU$2 billion ($1.55 billion) package to rescue the two remaining oil refineries in the country and to ensure Australia’s fuel security.
The package to support the Ampol refinery in Lytton in Queensland and the Viva Energy refinery in the city of Geelong in Victoria will help secure Australia’s sovereign fuel stocks and protect the jobs of 1,250 direct employees across the two refineries while creating another 1,750 construction jobs, the government said in a statement.
“This is a key plank of our plan to secure Australia’s recovery from the pandemic, and to prepare against any future crises,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
The government will also accelerate the industry-wide review of regulations that dictate that fuels be less polluting and will work with both refineries to consider future fuel technologies and other development opportunities such as their role in electric vehicle charging and hydrogen transport infrastructure, according to the statement.
“Earlier investment in Australia’s ability to produce better quality fuels, including ultra-low sulfur levels, will also improve air quality and deliver an estimated $1 billion in lower health costs,” Morrison added.
“Supporting our refineries will ensure we have the sovereign capability needed to prepare for any event, protect families and businesses from higher prices at the bowser, and keep Australia moving as we secure our recovery from Covid-19” Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said.
The government will introduce the fuel security bill to parliament in the coming weeks so that the fuel security payment to the refineries can begin on July 1.
In the past six months, two refineries, BP and ExxonMobil, have announced that they were ending operations in the country, a major blow to Australia’s fuel production capacity. EFE