Oil Vulnerability Task Force
Hon. AI McNAMARA (Hervey Bay-ALP) (Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation) (10.26 am): Yesterday the member for Burdekin asked me for a copy of the report on Queensland's vulnerability to rising oil prices that I was involved in preparing before becoming a minister. I was happy to provide her with a copy this morning, and I now table a copy for the benefit of honourable members.
Tabled paper: Report, dated 5 April 2007, by the Queensland Oil Vulnerability Taskforce titled 'Queensland's Vulnerability to Rising Oil Prices'.
It will be available on my departmental web site later today now that some of the formatting glitches have been ironed out. I chaired the task force as the member for Hervey Bay, along with the assistance of the member for Ipswich, which I acknowledge.
I am now in the unique position, as the Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation, of having to coordinate a whole-of-government response to my own report.
Obviously, as one of the authors of the report, I have some ideas on what needs to be done based on what I found in the process of preparing the report. Indeed, the report does contains a range of recommendations which members can read for themselves. However, the most important thing I would emphasise is that, while further analysis needs to be done, this issue is both real and imminent. Peak oil is the point at which maximum world oil production is reached. If nothing changes in our energy mix and
demand patterns after that point, we can expect to encounter significant liquid fuel price increases and price increases in those things that are made from oil such as petrol and plastics, and those things that rely on oil such as agriculture and transport.
The task force sought to present the most likely time frame for peak oil, to assess its impact on the mining, transport and primary industry sectors and then recommend
options to minimise the impact on Queensland. The report concludes that the overwhelming evidence is that world oil production will peak within the next 10 years. The recommendations are preliminary and more detailed analysis, including detailed modelling of the downstream impacts and substitution effects of the various proven
and evolving alternative energy technologies, will be a necessary next step.
The future availability of fossil fuel and alternative energy supplies is one of the main
sustainability issues facing society today. The report recommends that a prudent risk mitigation approach requires a mix of initiatives such as reduction in consumption of
liquid fossil fuels; encouraging the development and use of alternative fuels, technologies and strategies; and preparation for demographic and regional changes as Queenslanders change travel, work and living habits in response to rising fuel prices. I commend the report to the House.