THE Australian Government and “struggling” oil refiners are in talks to secure a rescue package by the end of the year amid concerns that a proposed six-month discussion period may be too long to avoid plant closures and job losses, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Australia’s fuel industry, as others globally, has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. On 14 September, the nation’s Government announced it would secure long-term fuel supply with a A$211m investment in building new domestic fuel supply and supporting local refineries to stay open, wherever commercially possible. Government said it would work with industry over a period of six months on the legislative and regulatory design of the package. Discussions are now underway, according to the Herald.
Reportedly, a representative of ExxonMobil, owner of Australia’s Altona refinery, said that rolling out the proposed support package as quickly as possible is “vital” as ongoing lockdowns in Victoria have placed “unprecedented” pressure on the industry. Australia’s four refineries include Geelong (owned by Viva Energy), Lytton (Ampol), and Kwinana (BP).
According to the Herald, the Exxon representative said: “We are working closely with the Australian Institute of Petroleum and the federal Government to implement the first part of the fuel security package by January 2021.”
The newspaper adds that a Government source anticipates the support package will be finalised by the end of the year.
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