The Shepparton CFA brigade expects to run out of fuel today as a result of the state-wide diesel shortage.By Fiona Broom
The Country Fire Authority is preparing to face diesel shortages, but the government says Victoria’s ability to fight fires will not be affected.
Supply levels are expected to improve next week and return to normal the following week, but Shepparton’s firefighters audited petrol stations yesterday and found they would likely be out of fuel by today.
Station officer Paul McKendrick said the shortage was something crews had to plan for.
‘‘Lack of fuel means lack of truck movements,’’ he said.
He said in previous decades during frequent fuel strikes, petrol stations were required to keep emergency fuel supplies.
Now, the government would have to direct suppliers under the Emergency Management Act to hold reserves, Mr McKendrick said.
He said 10 years ago there were bulk storages in regional areas, but that was no longer the case.
Melbourne stations will be filled first, then outlying stations before northern Victoria, he said.
But Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said the shortages would not affect the state’s capacity to fight fires.
‘‘The diesel shortages themselves as I understand it won’t directly affect our capacity (to fight fires); they have influence in other areas,’’ he said.
‘‘As a whole, the fact that there are diesel shortages at any time is always a concern, particularly at harvest time.’’
The government said diesel supply in Victoria was reduced due to production problems at local refineries.
A spokesperson said industry was working to resolve these issues and suppliers were sourcing additional diesel fuel from interstate and overseas.
‘‘Based on the latest industry advice, it is expected that supply levels will improve next week and will return to normal during the following week,’’ the spokesperson said.
‘‘If Shell’s refinery commences diesel production again this weekend, as currently expected, then this should help improve the situation.
‘‘At the moment, there are some local supply outages being experienced, of varying lengths of time.’’
The government said it was monitoring the situation closely.
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