Govt pours $30m into sustainable aviation fuel industry

The federal government is providing grants totalling $30 million via its renewable investment agency ARENA to boost the sustainable aviation fuel industry.

Chris Bowen

The funding will be available to industries that are looking for ways of developing their products, climate change minister Chris Bowen said on Wednesday.

“These grant applications will open in the coming weeks and will be open until November.

“So I invite people who are interested in developing Australia’s sustainable aviation fuel industry to apply for $30 million of funding,” he told reporters at Canberra Airport on Wednesday.

“We know there are people, particularly in industries like the sugar industry that are looking for new ways to develop their products and the feedstock with sustainable aviation fuel is an exciting opportunity for many of them.”

The announcement came as the government said it had formalised membership and released the terms of its ‘Jet Zero Council’.

The Jet Zero Council, based on a UK model  which aims to deliver at least 10 per cent sustainable aviation fuel in the UK fuel mix by 2030 and zero emission transatlantic flights within a generation,  was announced in February.

Jet Zero Council

The council will to work with the aviation industry to decarbonise the sector and advise the government on policy settings to achieve this, transport minister Catherine King said.

Ms King will chair the council, which will will bring together stakeholders from airlines, airports, the fuel sector and manufacturing, including Qantas, Virgin, Brisbane Airport Corporation, the Australian Institute of Petroleum, Airbus, Boeing, CSIRO, ARENA and the department of Defence.

Speaking to reporters at Canberra airport on Wednesday, Ms King said it was step towards a whole-of-aviation-sector approach towards reducing emissions.

“The Jet Zero Council will really lead that work not just in sustainable aviation fuel but other parts of the industry so that we know that government is getting the best advice it can and working in partnership with the industry to really decarbonise this hard-to-abate sector in transport,” she said.


Aviation accounted for about nine per cent of Australia’s transport emissions and 1.6 per cent of total emissions in 2018-19.

Shahana McKenzie

“(We want to take) aviation fuel and make it step by step more sustainable,” Mr Bowen said.

“It’s happening around the world but we don’t have a sustainable aviation fuel industry in Australia at the moment, and we should have one.

“In other countries, most notably the United States, you can get early stages of sustainable aviation fuel. We want to see Australia at the front of the pack.”

Shahana McKenzie from the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Australia New Zealand (SAFANZ), which will also be represented on the Jet Zero council, said the industry wants to see 1 billion litres of sustainable aviation fuel refined in Australia for domestic use.

“A sustainable aviation fuel industry … is a new industry in Australia and we are absolutely delighted with the announcements today,” she told reporters.

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