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Angus Taylor’s oil hand-outs: What’s the Scam?

by Michael West | May 18, 2021 | What's the scam?

The share prices of the oil refiners went ballistic on the ASX, Viva shot up 7% and Ampol 6%, after the Energy Minister Angus Taylor announced a $2bn subsidy. 

The scam is that this latest hand-out, leaked to mainstream media in return for kindly coverage, represents yet another transfer of wealth from the public to foreign-owned fossil fuel giants.

It might be easier to justify if the oil and gas juggernauts paid more tax and royalties but they are among Australia’s biggest tax dodgers, both upstream and downstream. 

Mind you Ampol (formerly Caltex has been the least worst tax offender in the sector) but it still pulled in $53bn in income for tax of $129 m over the past two years while Viva (formerly Shell downstream) got a $150m tax benefit last year while recording $35 billion (mostly in cash from Aussie motorists) over the past two years.

Will be interesting to see how much taxpayers have to kick in to clean up BP’s Kwinana refinery in WA and ExxonMobil’s plant at Altona in Melbourne which both recently closed.

Michael West established Michael West Media in 2016 to focus on journalism of high public interest, particularly the rising power of corporations over democracy. West was formerly a journalist and editor with Fairfax newspapers, a columnist for News Corp and even, once, a stockbroker.

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