New fuel reporting laws

The Australian parliament formally passed the Petroleum and Other Fuels Reporting Bill (2017) last week, writes ACAPMA.

This bill was developed following extensive consultation with industry and other stakeholders over the past 12 months and establishes a new regime for the mandatory reporting of fuel information by industry.

The federal government has produced statistics on fuel for more than 40 years through a voluntary survey of fuel businesses. The statistics derived from the information are aggregated and used to produce a range of government publications, the most notable of which is Australian Petroleum Statistics (APS).

APS contains detailed monthly figures on the production, refining, wholesaling and end-of-month stock levels of petroleum (crude oil and derivatives such as petrol and diesel), petroleum‑related products such as lubricants, bitumen and paraffin wax, and alternative fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel and gaseous fuels such as compressed natural gas.

In recent years the proportion of the fuel market participating in the survey has declined, reducing the reliability of the resulting statistics.

“With this deficiency in mind, the Australian government began work on the development of new laws requiring mandatory reporting of petroleum statistics,” ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie said.

“The process comprised a year-long consultation process where ACAPMA and other stakeholders were invited to provide comment on how the new arrangements might operate, with a view to securing the information needed by the government with the least inconvenience caused to industry.”

The new mandatory reporting laws will enable the development of more accurate, reliable and informative statistics on petroleum, other fuels and fuel-related products.

These laws allow the Secretary of the federal Department of Energy and the Environment to collect, record, use and disclose this information, or statistics developed from it, in certain circumstances (the legislation also provides a range of safeguards to ensure that personal and commercial‑in‑confidence information is protected).

The new reporting requirements come into effect from January 1, 2018, and for the first time will require large fuel wholesalers, as well as fuel producers and importers, to report fuel information.

Under the new laws, wholesalers that have sold 3,000 tonnes of fuel or more in the previous financial year will be required to report fuel information monthly (3000 tonnes is equivalent to 3.6 million litres of diesel).

In addition, any wholesaler that has a stockholding of 3000 tonnes or more of fuel at the end of any given month is also obligated to report.

It is important to note that ‘wholesaling’ has a specific meaning in the Petroleum and Other Fuels Reporting Bill 2017, which is:

  • If the product is subject to excise or customs duty, entering that product for home consumption (eg, triggering the obligation to pay excise or customs duty).
  • If the product is not subject to excise or customs duty, removing the product from an import terminal or domestic production facility (eg, a refinery).

Therefore, it is the entity that pays excise/customs duty or takes possession when the product leaves an import terminal or refinery that is the ‘wholesaler’. This means direct importers that import fuel for their own use (eg, a mining company importing diesel) are wholesalers.

Affected businesses will be required to lodge their monthly reports with 15 days after the end of each month. The January 2018 report, for example, will fall due on  February 15, 2018.

This is an edited version of an article originally circulated by ACAPMA on August 18, 2017.

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