Outspoken Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter is calling for the AdBlue engine systems in trucks to be turned off for at least 12 months.
Katter told a media conference in Townsville yesterday that unless drastic action is taken, the urea shortage, the key ingredient in Australia’s most common diesel exhaust fluid, could prove a catastrophic one for the road transport industry by February.
“This situation is of the government’s own creation,” said Katter, who was joined by Clynton Hawks, a truckie for local family business Hawks Transport and also a Katter Australia Party candidate for the north Queensland seat of Herbert at the next federal election.
“AdBlue has only been made essential by the government to meet environmental requirements. I am informed that the entire trucking fleet could operate without any AdBlue if the government were to simply suspend their requirements for its use.”
Hawks said the trucking industry is on the road to disaster and that the sector is appalled at the government’s slow response to the crisis having, “sat on the issue” for nearly five months.
“I am deeply disgusted that the federal government has failed to provide the transport industry with a solution,” said Hawks.
“There have been many roundtables, and meetings, and yet, they still can’t tell us what our AdBlue stock levels were, or what their plan was.
“The Assistant Minister for Freight Transport has sat on this for a couple of months now and all they have done is monitor the situation.
“Actions speak louder than words. It’s time for the talking to stop. The transport industry deserves to know what is going on.”
Katter said that the government’s current solution of forming a taskforce is not good enough.
“This is very serious. The only Australian supplier of AdBlue, Incitec Pivot, can only supply 10 per cent and they intend to close down the plant completely,” Katter said.
Katter said the price of AdBlue had exploded since the announcement was made, from around 60 cents to $2.20, with everyone trying desperately to buy up stock.
“I have confirmed with both the national and Queensland transport body that the situation is absolutely desperate and all they got off the government is the same as I got off them – they are setting up a taskforce.
“It’s quite simple what needs to be done. I’ve had discussions with the Prime Minister, so today I am calling it bluntly – suspend the AdBlue regulations for at least 12 months.
“This, however, goes to a far more fundamental issue. It’s a brutal cannonball shot over Australia’s bow, demonstrating how serious Australia’s reliance on foreigners for fuel supply has become.”
Katter said that only two weeks ago, in the last Parliament sitting of 2021, the KAP continually raised fuel sovereignty and security as a key issue.
It was brought to the House as a matter of public importance, asked as a question to the Prime Minister in question time, and raised again in a 90-second statement, he said.
“Draft legislation, our Australian Fuel Security and Sovereignty Bill, was circulated throughout the House in key discussions with the government, opposition and crossbenchers.
“It is imperative now that our Sovereign Fuel Security Bill goes through in the first week of Parliament. It would appear to me all the crossbenchers will carry the bill and the ALP have initiated discussions with us on this as well.
“My message to the government is clear – if you can’t see the bullet coming, for heaven’s sake, resign as the government.
“Clynton is dead right. Actions speak louder than words and it’s time for the talking to stop. The freight industry, transport industry and, quite literally, the whole of Australia, deserves, and should demand, immediate action.”
Earlier this week Trade Minister Dan Tehan said there was still seven weeks of AdBlue in stock, and was confident of sourcing more urea from other markets.