About the Act
The Liquid Fuel Emergency Act 1984 (the Act) provides the Australian Government with the authority needed to prepare for, and manage, a national liquid fuel emergency.
The Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP is the responsible Minister under the Act.
The constitutional basis for Australian Government action under the Act relates to matters of national concern and specific Australian Government responsibilities.
These matters include:
- the protection of the existence of Australia as nation
- Australia’s rights and obligations as a member of the International Energy Agency
- supplies to the territories and to the Australian Government or its authorities—as well as ensuring that trade or commerce may be carried on without obstruction or hindrance, and to the extent that the Constitution permits, in an efficient, competitive and profitable manner.
The powers of the Act primarily focus on periods where a national liquid fuel emergency is declared. Under the Act, the Minister has wide-ranging powers to control the drawdown, transfer and sale of industry stocks of liquid fuels (under the Act, ‘liquid fuels’ means: liquid petroleum, a liquid petroleum product, a liquid petrochemical, methanol or ethanol), to control the range of products produced by Australian refineries, and to direct bulk and retail sales of fuel across Australia.
The Act also incorporates contingency planning powers which may be activated prior to a national liquid fuel emergency including powers to direct fuel industry corporations to maintain particular levels of reserves, develop bulk allocation procedures and to maintain statistical information.
In 2004, the Act was reviewed and subsequent amendments (Liquid Fuel Emergency Amendment Bill 2007) were made, with the changes coming into effect on 21 December 2007.
To date, the Act has never been invoked.
Supporting the Liquid Fuel Emergency Act 1984 are the Liquid Fuel Emergency Guidelines that provide the decision maker, the Minister for Resources and Energy and/or his delegate, guidance on making a direction under particular sections of the Act.
Section 11 of the Act allows the Minister to make a direction with respect to essential users. A determination under section 11 has been put in place. The purpose of the Liquid Fuel Emergency (Activities—Essential Users) Determination 2008 is to provide a predetermined list of essential user activities. This allows for greater planning and preparation, so that if a liquid fuel emergency does occur, there will be an existing strategy to meet the needs of these essential users.
For more information about the Liquid Fuel Emergency Act email firstname.lastname@example.org.