Requirements for Queensland fuel sellers

Biofuel mandate

The Liquid Fuel Supply Act 1984 requires the fuel industry to meet targets for the sale of biobased fuel, such as E10.

The mandate commenced on 1 January 2017 and sets minimum requirements for the sale of ethanol-blended regular unleaded petrol and biobased diesel. The biobased petrol mandate will apply separately to the biobased diesel mandate.

The biobased petrol mandate requires that 3% of the total volume of regular unleaded petrol sales and ethanol blended fuel sales by liable retailers must be biobased petrol (ethanol). For example, if 3 out of every 10 litres of regular petrol sold by a petrol station were E10, which contains 10% ethanol, that station would have met the mandate.

From 1 July 2018, the biobased petrol mandate will increase to 4%. The biobased diesel mandate requires 0.5% of all diesel fuel sold to be biobased diesel.

Impact of Cyclone Debbie

If you are a fuel seller and have difficulty completing your quarterly reporting or if you need an exemption from the mandate as a result of Cyclone Debbie, email biofuels@dews.qld.gov.au.

Who must meet the biobased petrol mandate?

A fuel retailer is liable to meet the mandated sales amount if they:

  • own or operate 10 or more sites
  • or
  • sell more than 500,000 litres of all grades of petrol at a site in a calendar quarter.

Sites that sell low aromatic fuel are not liable to meet the mandate.

To comply with the biofuel mandate, liable fuel sellers must either:

  • sell the minimum amount of biofuel
  • or
  • hold an exemption.

Fuel sellers that are not required to meet the mandate do not need to seek an exemption from the biofuels mandate. However, some reporting and registration obligations apply to all fuel sellers (see requirements below), regardless of whether they are required to meet the mandate.

How is the petrol sales requirement calculated?

A retailer that owns or operates 10 or more sites has the mandate liability (3%) applied to the volume of regular and ethanol-blended petrol sold from their business as a whole (i.e. all sites).

A retailer with 9 or fewer sites has the mandate liability (3%) applied to the total volume of regular and ethanol-blended petrol sold only at the site(s) with quarterly sales above 500,000 litres of total petrol. However, the required sales of ethanol can come from any of the fuel retailers’ sites.

Fuel sellers should refer to manufacturing specifications to ensure the compatibility of infrastructure on their sites, and seek professional advice specific to their site and equipment if required.

Check your ethanol sales percentage

Fuel retailers can use the ethanol mandate calculator to check their ethanol sales percentage.

Check your ethanol sales percentage

How is the diesel sales requirement calculated?

Fuel wholesalers that sell fuel for delivery in Queensland have a mandate liability (0.5% biobased diesel) applied to diesel sales.

The wholesale (diesel) obligation of the biofuels mandate is designed to capture diesel sales from fuel wholesalers that are made to fuel retailers and bulk users (such as transport depot, agricultural and mining uses). It is not intended to capture wholesale sales from one wholesaler to another wholesaler where that wholesaler is selling the volume on to another entity (for example selling to another retailer, or a bulk end user).

It is up to an individual wholesaler how they choose to meet the mandate. For example, the fuel wholesaler could choose to blend all diesel that is captured by the mandate at 0.5%, or it could choose to blend a smaller volume at a higher concentration to achieve the same outcome.

Reporting and registration requirements

Submit your annual fuel sales report for the 1 January 2017–30 June 2017 period before 31 July 2017.

Annual reporting

All fuel retailers and fuel wholesalers in Queensland must submit an annual report, even if they are not required to meet the biofuel mandate.

The mandatory report details the total sales volumes of all fuels sold in each calendar quarter of the last financial year. This information is used to help determine whether fuel sellers are complying with the mandate.

Fuel sellers who have applied for or been granted an exemption from the requirement to meet the biofuel mandate are still required to submit an annual report.

January–June 2017 annual report

The first annual report is due by 31 July 2017. This report covers the period 1 January 2017–30 June 2017. Fuel sellers who submitted a quarterly report for January–March 2017 will not need to provide the same data again.

For help submitting your January–June 2017 report, read the Queensland Fuel Seller Reporting User Guide (PDF, 1.5MB).

Submit your annual report

Quarterly reporting

Fuel retailers and wholesalers that are required to meet the mandate need to report sales volumes on a quarterly basis, within one month of the end of each quarter.

Fuel sellers who have applied for, or been granted an exemption from the biofuel mandate must still provide quarterly reports.

View fuel seller statistics for January–March 2017

The quarterly reporting period for January–March 2017 has closed. Fuel retailers and wholesalers who wish to submit a late report must provide this data in their annual report. The annual report form will enable data submission for both the January–March and April–June quarters, if required.

Register as a fuel seller

It is a legal requirement for all fuel sellers to register their business information with us.

If you were a fuel seller in the first calendar quarter of 2016 but have not completed an initial registration, please contact us on 13 43 87 or email biofuels@dews.qld.gov.au.

If you are a new fuel seller in Queensland, established since 1 April 2016, please complete a new fuel seller registration form and submit it via email to biofuels@dews.qld.gov.au.

Changes to a fuel seller's registration information

A fuel seller must notify the Chief Executive of any change to the fuel seller's registration information within one month of the change.

To meet your obligations as a fuel seller, outline updated details to your registration information in an email to the Chief Executive of the Department of Energy and Water Supply (DEWS) and send to biofuels@dews.qld.gov.au.

Information submitted through the quarterly and annual reporting processes will also be taken to be updates to your registration information.

Exemption framework

Fuel sellers who are required to comply with the mandate are able to seek an exemption from the mandate under certain circumstances. The grounds for exemption are:

  • shortage of supply of sustainable biobased fuel
  • complying with the requirement would threaten the viability of the fuel seller's business
  • other extraordinary circumstances.

An exemption guideline (PDF, 564KB) assists fuel sellers to understand how exemptions will be applied. The guideline neither limits nor expands the range of circumstances which may justify the grant of an exemption under section 35G of the Act. This guideline provides information on the approach that will generally be taken in relation to exemption applications. Each exemption application will be considered individually on its own facts and circumstances.

View biofuel mandate exemption statistics

Application timing

DEWS requests that exemption applications for sellers who own or operate up to 20 sites be submitted at least 8 weeks (preferably longer) before the commencement of the quarter for which the exemption is sought. Longer lead times are preferred. This will give applicants greater opportunity to respond to any necessary requests for additional information.

For fuel sellers who own or operate more than 20 sites, DEWS requests applications be submitted at least 10 weeks before the commencement of the quarter for which the exemption is sought.

Making an exemption application

After reading the exemption guideline, if you would like to apply for an exemption phone 13 43 87 or email biofuels@dews.qld.gov.au for further information or to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting.

Sustainability criteria

Biobased petrol and biobased diesel sold under the biofuels mandate must meet the sustainability criteria. The criteria help mitigate unintended environmental impacts from the expected increased demand for biofuels as a result of the mandate. The sustainability criteria are prescribed in the Liquid Fuel Supply Regulation 2016 (PDF, 237KB).

The sustainability criteria include:

  • a greenhouse gas criterion that requires unblended biofuels, regardless of the feedstock, to deliver greenhouse gas savings of at least 20% when compared to regular petrol or diesel
  • and
  • certification under the relevant environmental sustainability standard, which varies depending on the feedstock used to produce the biofuel.

As part of the quarterly reporting process described above, fuel retailers and wholesalers will need to indicate whether the biofuels they sell meet the sustainability criteria. Fuel sellers will also need to be able to produce evidence of this if required. The Government expects that retailers and wholesalers would rely upon supply contracts and other commercial arrangements to ensure that they are provided with biofuels which meets the sustainability criteria if they are reporting that fuel against their mandate liabilities. They would then be able to provide relevant contracting provisions and steps taken to verify those contractual arrangements if asked.

The overview of the sustainability criteria (PDF, 272KB) provides further information about the criteria and standards.

The sustainability criteria and associated transitional arrangements ensure that fuel businesses are able to purchase biofuels from existing Australian producers from the beginning of the mandate. They also set out the process through which new producers will be able to establish their environmental sustainability credentials.

Greenhouse gas criterion: existing life cycle assessment

The Queensland Government commissioned a greenhouse gas life cycle assessment for biofuels currently produced in Queensland and NSW. The assessment, Greenhouse gas and sustainability footprints of current and future biofuels for Queensland (PDF, 5.3MB), was undertaken by Lifecycles for the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) in August 2016.

This life cycle assessment informed setting the greenhouse gas criterion under the Liquid Fuel Supply Regulation 2016. The assessment also covers existing producers of ethanol and biodiesel at the biofuels mandate’s commencement in demonstrating they meet the greenhouse gas criterion.

New biofuel producers will need to demonstrate they meet the greenhouse gas benefit criterion by either:

  • commissioning their own greenhouse gas assessment
  • or
  • obtaining EHP's approval that their production process is covered by the existing greenhouse gas life cycle assessment.

Existing or prospective biofuels producers with questions about the sustainability criteria can contact the EHP at sustainable.biofuels@ehp.qld.gov.au.

E10 OK

To support the introduction of the biofuels mandate, the E10 OK consumer education campaign helps Queensland drivers to better understand their fuel choices, and the options provided by biofuels.

The campaign will assist in the successful implementation of the mandate, which will help to grow Queensland's biofuels industry.

Achieving compliance

DEWS will encourage fuel seller compliance with the Act through the provision of education and information. The department will also visit fuel sellers to monitor and investigate compliance as required. Ideally, cases of inadvertent non-compliance will be able to be corrected through counselling and feedback.

The biofuels mandate compliance and enforcement strategy (PDF, 536KB) helps fuel sellers understand DEWS' general approach to compliance and enforcement of the Act. Each instance on non-compliance with the Act will be considered individually on its own facts and circumstances.

Under the Act, DEWS also has the power to apply to the court for a penalty to be imposed upon a fuel seller who fails to comply with their legislative obligations.

From 1 January 2017, fuel sellers who are required to comply with the mandate but do not sell at least the minimum amount of biobased fuel in each calendar quarter face a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units for a first offence and 2,000 penalty units for a second or later offence. One penalty unit is currently valued at $121.90. There are also penalty provisions for fuel sellers who do not comply with a number of other obligations under the Act including the reporting and registration obligations.

Prosecuting a fuel seller is an enforcement tool that will only be used after careful consideration. If an alternative to prosecution is available and is more effective in achieving the objects of the Act, then the alternative will be considered.

Fuel sellers who take all reasonable steps to comply with the mandate, but fail to sell the minimum required amount may avoid penalties. The Act states that in considering whether reasonable steps were taken, the court may consider:

  • efforts made to secure enough supply of the biofuels
  • efforts made to promote the sale of biofuels
  • any upgrade of infrastructure to enable enough biofuel sales
  • facilities made available for biofuels sales.

Find out more

Contact

Energy enquiries 13 43 87

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