What is a liquid fuel emergency?
A national liquid fuel emergency would involve a prolonged and widespread shortage in the supply of liquid fuels such as petrol, diesel, ethanol or crude oil.
The Australian Government has acknowledged a clear responsibility to prepare contingency plans against a possible national liquid fuel supply emergency.
In an emergency it is Australian Government policy to, where possible, allow industry to manage fuel supply shortfalls without government intervention.
If regulatory response were required, Australia’s state and territory governments have constitutional responsibility for planning and coordinating emergency responses within their territorial boundaries.
In the event of a fuel shortage having national implications or the need for Australia to meet its commitments to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Australian Governor General may, upon prior consultation with the Commonwealth Energy Minister along with State and Territory Energy Ministers, declare a national liquid fuel emergency under the Liquid Fuel Emergency Act 1984.
Supporting the Act are Liquid Fuel Emergency Act Guidelines which set out what a decision-maker must do or consider when exercising powers under the Act.
How is RET involved?
RET is responsible for the administration of the Liquid Fuel Emergency Act 1984. This includes maintaining the National Liquid Fuel Emergency Response Plan and providing the Chair and Secretariat for the National Oil Supplies Emergency Committee (NOSEC).
On behalf of NOSEC, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (RET) recently undertook a national liquid fuel emergency simulation exercise, Exercise Catalyst 2011. The exercise tested Australia's preparedness to respond to a national liquid fuel emergency and some aspects of the Act and guidelines.
For more information about liquid fuel emergencies email firstname.lastname@example.org.