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Here we were thinking it might’ve been handed down to son Ryan, CEO of Seven Group and the triumphant buccaneer of Boral.

Emperor of ethanol

But in late May, the registration on the old Global changed again. We understand Stokes has sold the 2007 plane to another Rich Lister, Manildra’s Dick Honan, the emperor of ethanol whose starch stench perfumes the NSW south coast’s Shoalhaven region on a permanent basis.

The 2007 Bombardier Global Express 5000 that Seven billionaire Kerry Stokes recently sold to Manildra billionaire Dick Honan. Grahame Hutchison

Manildra, incidentally, operates one of the nation’s greatest ever boondoggles. Its Bomaderry plant converts wheat into flour, separates it into gluten and starch and then ferments the starch into ethanol, for which the NSW government’s contemptible biofuels mandate (requiring 6 per cent of total petrol volume each year to be ethanol) ensures voracious demand.

Manildra trousered an estimated $500 million in Commonwealth ethanol production rebates before the scheme was closed in 2015.

Comically, Manildra’s plant produces this “renewable” petrol input under the steam of coal-fired boilers. That coal travels each day from as far as Lithgow, 300 kilometres away, on delivery trucks presumably running on diesel!

Of its own mandate, NSW Treasury declared in 2012 that “beyond Manildra it is difficult to identify a net benefit for any other segment of society”.

In 2013, the ACCC found it has “reduced consumer choice” and led to “significantly higher prices”. In 2014, NSW Greens MP John Kaye said “there’s no evidence that requiring motorists to use ethanol-blended fuels has any net greenhouse gas gain or much in the way of air quality improvement”.

Kaye wasn’t kidding on that last point. Manildra’s Bomaderry plant has breached its NSW Environment Protection Authority licence more than 10,000 times in recent years for the opacity of its atmospheric emissions, and has been slapped with major fines for emitting foul odours.

That’s a viscous cloud you really only want to fly over…

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