ScoMo delayed warnings we're days from running out of fuel
The federal government is under fire over fears Australia's low fuel stockpiles could leave the nation dangerously exposed.
Experts have criticised the Coalition for failing to publish an urgent review of Australia's liquid fuel reserves, with the nation failing to hold the recommended amount.
International Energy Agency mandates that countries hold at least 90 days' supply of liquid fuel reserves.
But according to the latest Department of Energy figures, Australia sits well below this, with 22 days' worth of petrol, 17 days of diesel and 27 days of total petroleum products.
Australia depends largely on the Middle East for its transport fuel imports, but recent instability in the region - as well as tensions in the South China Sea and on the Korean peninsula - could threaten our fuel future, The Australian reports.
Coalition senator and retired major-general Jim Molan told the newspaper that rising geopolitical tensions mean a review of Australia's liquid reserves is more important than ever.
"With increased uncertainty in the Middle East from where much of our oil and refined fuel comes, and the growing uncertainty in our own region due to great power tensions and the unpredictability of the US as a stabilising force, a review of Australia's liquid fuel reserves is even more crucial now to Australia's national security," he said.
"It's disappointing and potentially dangerous that the review has been delayed, given that the bureaucracy also has to complete an overall energy review in 2019."
Experts have echoed these claims. Dr Paul Barnes, head of Risk and Resilience Program at Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told news.com.au he's concerned by the lack of information regarding a federal government review into domestic fuel security.
"The fact that the review results are delayed is a concern … we have been teetering on the edge for some time," he said.
"One issue today that is a concern for all Australians is that just because we haven't had a problem with fuel security in the past, it doesn't mean we will never have one in the future - it doesn't make logical sense.
"We need to do our full due diligence, not just regarding fuel reserves but the broader issue of supply chains."
Dr Barnes said Australia was at the end of the supply chain which meant we were vulnerable to geopolitical disturbances that could affect supply, such as tension in the South China Sea and on the Korean peninsula.
"The Australian people are not stupid and they can see through the illogical argument that we can predict the future just because we've never had a problem in the past.
"The world is changing, and where we get many of our imports from are from locations close to geopolitical distress.
"We need to get clear direction from the government in the form of a completed review that needs to be published and discussed."
Last May, then-Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg ordered an urgent review of Australia's liquid fuel reserves, after the country dipped below 50 days.
Mr Molan warned that Australia was one of the few places in the world without a government-mandated strategic reserve of fuel, and that if conflict broke out in our region and current stockpiles of petrol, diesel and aviation fuel ran dry, the military would effectively be grounded.
"I can't imagine that armoured vehicles in the forces in the near future are going to work off renewables or off electricity or off whatever," he told news.com.au last year.
News.com.au has contacted the Department of the Environment and Energy for comment.