AWU welcomes breakthrough on Australian fuel refining after months of discussions

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Media Release

After many months of discussions, the Australian Workers’ Union has welcomed a federal government intervention that will ensure Australia’s last two fuel refineries remain open and continue to underpin the nation’s fuel security.

The federal government has today announced it will guarantee a production payment to refineries in times of difficulty, as well as providing capital to co-invest in sulphur reduction upgrades. These measures will ensure the Lytton refinery in Queensland and the Viva refinery in Victoria stay running.

AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said after months of discussions with politicians and refinery management today’s announcement was a great result.

“We’ve been saying for months Australia should never become a nation that can’t make its own fuel, and that we need not reach that dire situation if we get a few policy settings right,” Mr Walton said.

“We are extremely satisfied to see the federal government come to the party today with this very important suite of measures.

“The security of the production payment provision, along with the investment to make cleaner fuel, will underpin longevity for both refineries. Today’s announcement will save thousands of jobs, both directly at the refineries and indirectly through jobs supported in the community.

“Importantly for the national interest, the ongoing viability of our refineries mean the skills of highly specialised technicians will be preserved – skills that will be needed as we transition toward a future of hydrogen and renewables.

“Being able to make our own fuel is a critical sovereign capability. Without it, we are completely at the mercy of trade routes that are threatened by potential international conflict or pandemics.

“If these refineries had shut it would mean Australia was fully dependent on fragile supply chains running through global hotspots to power our transport, aviation, agriculture, and defence industries.

“We urge the states to work with the federal government to ensure the federal government’s policies are durable and calibrated to ensure Australia retains its fuel refining capacity.”