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Letter from Australia: Downstream rescue package may be wishful thinking

The Canberra government has tried to throw the country’s refineries a financial lifeline in an existential struggle

Australia’s fuel demand has been sent spiralling down by Covid-19’s impact on the economy, with GDP contracting in the second quarter by 7.1pc. One of country’s four remaining refinery operators, Viva Energy, warned in early September that without government help it would likely have to permanently shut operations at its Geelong facility in Victoria. And the mounting pressure on the industry prompted Australian prime minister Scott Morrison to announce a mid-September series of incentives to be rolled out in the 2020-2021 budget. The rescue package aims not only to help the industry survive the current downturn, but also to improve its long-term economic viability. But it is not immediatel

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