Warren Truss.
Warren Truss. The Northern Star

Labor call on Nats to build ethanol plant

FEDERAL Nationals Leader Warren Truss has called on the Federal Government to honour the former Howard Government's commitment to contribute $2.2m towards building an ethanol plant at Casino.

The previous government had allocated funds for the plant under the Sustainable Regions Program, and while Mr Truss said the Labor Government had no obligation to see through projects promised under the program, it should look at the proposed plant and base its decision on the project's merit.

"We know the project would boost the Richmond Valley economy by $5 million a week. What other evidence does Labor need that it is a very good investment?" Mr Truss asked.

Mr Truss also said the project, which was not included in May's Federal Budget, would mean more jobs for Casino. He claimed the Labor Government did not support ethanol production despite its ability to reduce Australia's reliance on expensive imported oil.

The Coalition Government's funding announcement for the plant had come so close to the election last year, that the actual contracts had not been signed for the plant's construction.

When asked why this had occurred, Mr Truss said that it was taking time for approval from all government levels to be assessed.

Federal Member for Lismore, Janelle Saffin said The Nationals had 11 years to do something for Casino. In its first six months the Rudd Government had delivered $5 million for community infrastructure in the town.

The proposed plant was proposed for Hannon Brook, south-west of Casino, by local company Bio-En.

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