NRMA ex-chief: Our dependence on fuel imports is dangerous
ISLANDS being developed in the South China Sea were not there for tourism and may eventually pose an additional risk to Australia's fuel supply vulnerability.
That's the view of former NRMA director Graham Blight of Buderim who is also a former president of the National Farmers Federation.
He has championed a report into Australia's fuel security that led to a Senate inquiry which is due to report next month.
Mr Blight said a bipartisan approach was required towards achieving at least 30% fuel independence through the use of alternatives like biofuels, ethanol, gas, electric and hydrogen.
He said yesterday the situation would be helped further if Australian vehicles had the same fuel efficiency as those in Europe, Japan and China.
Australia imports 91% of its mobility fuel needs.
The NRMA report release last year has found that if that supply were cut off Australia risked falling into total dysfunction within a matter of weeks.
Within seven days of that supply being cut, Mr Blight said, people would be beginning to wonder where they would source food.
He said the government was being advised by major fuel companies that the chances of a supply cut were very low.
"But there's no Plan B even for the loss of 50% of imports," Mr Blight said.
"This is a very high-risk issue. If our fuel supply stops within two to three weeks there would be enormous problems."
Now the NRMA's fuel ambassador, Mr Blight is spending a lot of time in Canberra lobbying for a national fuel security strategy.
He says the cost to government would be minimal. Consistent bipartisan policy would attract the necessary investment.
Mr Blight said the new islands being built in the South China Sea were not there for tourism.
Mr Blight said while it was difficult to determine what triggers might push China to disrupt fuel supply lines.
What was clear was that it now had the ability, he said.