United Australia Party Capricornia candidate Lindsay Sturgeon with party leader and founder Clive Palmer.
United Australia Party Capricornia candidate Lindsay Sturgeon with party leader and founder Clive Palmer. Zizi Averill

'We need to power our defence systems with sugar'

SENATE candidate Clive Palmer believes sugar should power our defence systems if Australia is attacked.

At Mackay's Shamrock Hotel yesterday, the leader of the United Australia Party said the major parties had left Australia's fuel reserves dangerously low by not properly investing in the biofuel industry.

In February, according to the Australian Petroleum Statistics, there were only 28 days of petroleum reserves, with diesel oil potentially running out within 19 days and automotive gasoline 21 days, and aviation turbine fuel potentially running low within 25 days.

Mr Palmer said the low stocks were a symptom of Australia's reliance on foreign petroleum imports.

To decrease that reliance, he announced his party would establish an ethanol industry in North Queensland. By converting the sugar industry into an energy provider, Mr Palmer said would improve Australia's security and provide economic stability to the Dawson region.

He said the Federal Government should provide a guarantee to biofuel producers "should it default".

"There's opportunities out there for ethanol and the government needs to ... put up the cash, put up the guarantee for the people of this region," he said.