Queensland invests in ethanol conference

QUEENSLAND Deputy Premier Anna Bligh has announced the State Government will spend $70,000 in support of the Australian Ethanol 2006 conference to be held in Brisbane during May, expected to attract up to 400 key stakeholders in the developing biofuels industry.
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“The Government is committed to helping establish ethanol as a growing and sustainable industry in the Smart State because we need to grab our opportunity to remain not only the nation's ethanol leader but a major international player in this industry,” Bligh said yesterday.

The commitment makes the Queensland Government the lead sponsor of the event, which will attempt to cement the state’s leadership in the biofuels industry, driven largely by its sugar cane industry.

Bligh said the Government expected the event would draw the attention of agricultural policy-makers, local, state and federal government agencies and representatives from the petroleum industry.

“But it will not just be for those who have an in-depth knowledge of this cleaner, greener fuel,” she said.

“The organisers will stage such seminars as Ethanol 101, which will focus on the basics of ethanol production and the ins and outs of plant operations.”

Bligh said Queensland was leading the way in the development of an Australian biofuels industry, with fuel retailers and motorists among the first to accept the fuel in this country.

Queensland’s consumption of ethanol is now averaging over 200,000 litres a month, Bligh claimed, and government fleet vehicle drivers have been directed to use E10 when possible.

“Queensland's E10 distribution network continues to go from strength to strength, expanding from 54 service stations in August last year to 124 by the end of January,” she said.

Last month, BP opened a new ethanol blending plant in Mackay to help meet the regional demand, which Bligh said would continue to create employment opportunities and encourage economic growth.

“Now is the time – a time when we are seeing high and volatile oil prices coupled with a growing worldwide demand for alternative energy – to stage a serious push to extend supplies as well as produce alternatives to petrol and diesel fuel,” said the deputy premier.

Ethanol Australia 2006 will be held in Brisbane, May 8-11.

Registration information is available at www.ethanol2006.com.

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