Drivers are facing an “unavoidably fatal” shortage of petrol and diesel fuel as a result of a shortage in supply of fuel.
The shortage is the result of the Federal Government’s “price-fixing” of the fuel market.
In its annual gas supply review published last month, the Department of the Environment (DoE) estimated the fuel crisis would last until April.
“While fuel supply to Queensland and Western Australia has improved significantly in recent years, the Government has not been able to supply fuel for the remaining areas of the state in an adequate amount,” it said.
However, fuel suppliers in the state are reporting a shortage of diesel and petrol.
Diesel supply has been reduced across the state by 60 per cent.
There is no easy solution to the shortage.
Fuel companies have been forced to cut back on the use of their trucks and hire more drivers.
A spokesperson for Shell said they were “actively considering” how to supply the state with diesel and had “not ruled out an extended fuel supply”.
Dylan Goulson, a spokesperson for Chevron, said that in the meantime, “we are looking at options for a long-term supply to all customers”.
Gas has been available at the state level since at least 2013, but has been restricted to those living in Queensland and NSW.
But, despite the restrictions, the state’s Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD) said it was “working on a long term plan to get the fuel into the state”.
“We are currently working on a range of initiatives that include a gas supply plan, an extended supply plan for customers living in the Northern Territory, and a longterm plan to increase fuel supplies from our regional gas stations,” the department said.
“These initiatives will help alleviate pressure on our supply chain and will ultimately deliver the fuel to our customers.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Opposition’s energy spokeswoman, Jenny Macklin, said the Government had “lied” to people who are worried about gas shortages.
Ms Macklin said the problem was caused by “a rigged gas market”.
“(The) Government has lied to Australians and told them the price of petrol is going down, so that’s why they are so desperate to make the situation worse,” she said.
“If we had been told the price was going down we wouldn’t be worried.
We wouldn’t feel so bad, but the price is going up.”
She said the “dismal” situation was a result “of the Government’s own fuel price rigging”.
Ms Carr said the Federal Environment Minister and her senior adviser on the environment, Michael Tobin, were “in full denial” about the situation.
Senator Carr said: “They know the price has gone up.
They know it’s a lie.”
But the Government said there was no evidence of the price fixing.
When asked about the shortage, Ms Carr said she believed the situation was caused because of a “rigged” market.