Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the Albanese government is investing $49.5m to ensure truckies don’t run out of AdBlue.
With the trucking industry continuing to sound warnings of shortages in the next 18 months, the government will source an emergency stockpile of urea, the key AdBlue ingredient, reports The Australian.
This would provide the industry with up to five weeks’ supply in case of shortages.
The $49.5m package would also include a competitive grants program to fund manufacturing projects that would produce the product in Australia.
The Morrison government provided Incitec Pivot with almost $30m to bolster supply of AdBlue from its Brisbane plant.
But that facility is scheduled to close at the end of the year.
“Diesel exhaust fluid is crucial to our transport sector and the Albanese government is taking action to ensure supply and strengthen the market,” said Bowen.
“While the market is currently well supplied, we need to put in place measures to deliver certainty and provide back-up in case of disruption.”
Federal Queensland MP Bob Katter wrote to Transport Minister Catherine King recently requesting an immediate 18-month suspension of the law which requires trucks to use AdBlue.
The National Farmers Federation also weighed in, requesting the government tap into the $500 million National Reconstruction Fund to support the manufacture and supply of urea.
Katter labelled the idea short-sighted given the enormous price of gas for producers, which he said was the final nail in the coffin for Incitec Pivot’s urea factory due to shut up shop in December this year.
“AdBlue is urea which is an ammonia nitrate natural gas. It will not matter how many people put their hands up to produce it – unless the government can bring down the price of gas long term, it won’t be a survivable industry,” he said.
“We have the highest priced natural gas in the world. No one is going to produce urea in Australia, and this is the concept that is hard for an ordinary intelligent thinking person to understand because it is so unbelievable.
“There is a law in this country that ensures every truck in Australia will go off the road if they do not provide a constant, affordable supply of AdBlue. But the federal government have no intention of doing anything about it because they are driven by ideology, and this overrides common sense.”
Katter said state governments needed to also rubber stamp gas projects that are under development and release the gas immediately for domestic use to bring down costs in the short term.
“It seems to me that the answers are just sitting there but the interest in serving the tyrannical monopolists is more important than providing solutions that keep down costs for our farmers, producers, and the public,” he said.
“God forbid they do something sensible like introduce ethanol. If you put ethanol in your tank and take the cancer-inducing aromatics out of petrol, you would be dramatically reducing the CO2 small particle problems and the carcinogenic problems that exist with petrol at the current moment.
“You might be a bit worse off with your diesel, but you’ll be a hell of a lot better off overall with the heath environmental benefits.”