Government subsidies for fossil fuel companies have hit records again – more money than is spent on Australia’s army. What’s the scam?
The scam is, in gas particularly, the winners are mostly foreign-owned multinational companies. The scam is also that these companies are enjoying soaring profits and most of them are serious tax avoiders.
The biggest item on the long list of state and federal subsidies is fuel credits, which admittedly go to farmers as well but The Australia Institute’s annual subsidies analysis is worth a read. As TAI’s research director Rod Campbell puts it, “A year on from the ‘climate election’ and we have fossil fuel subsidies breaking records in tandem with the rising global temperatures that put our economy at risk”.
Also this week in fossil fuel news, an open letter from almost 100 scientists to the NT Government decrying its decision to give the green light to fracking in the Beetaloo Basin. And the good news, IEEFA research showing 200 large global investors have now made coal exclusion policies. With the government approving new fossil fuel projects with ears pinned back, the outlook is bleak for any serious reform. Weaning the world off fossil fuels will have to be done by the markets.
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.