Melbourne, 14 May 2013
Responding to the 2013 Federal Budget announcement, Market Forces Lead Campaigner Julien Vincent said:
“When it came to the major opportunities for boosting the budget by cancelling polluter handouts, the Government has again cowered to the lobbying and pressure of big mining at the expense of the Australian community.
“Money has been taken off students in higher education, the renewable energy future and families expecting the baby bonus, and yet the government still sees fit to give away $2 billion per year to the wealthy mining industry so they can have cheaper fuel.
Polling conducted for Market Forces in January 2013 showed that 64% of Australians (including 72% of Queenslanders) were opposed to the continuation of the mining industry receiving its $2 billion per year fuel discount through the Fuel Tax Credits Scheme1.
“Ending the mining industry’s fuel discount would be environmentally and economically responsible, and would have been a winner with the public. Short of gift-wrapping the idea, we couldn’t have made it any more appealing to the government.”
Market Forces believes that fossil fuel subsidies counteract the benefits of the carbon price and should now be phased out faster.
“The government has a multi-billion policy conflict on its hands that needs urgent attention. The carbon price brought in $8.3 billion in 2012/13. While that’s an important step, it is being undermined by the government giving away more than $10 billion per year on programs that encourage more carbon-polluting fuels to be dug up and burned.
“The government has committed to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies through the agreement reached by the G20 in 2009. When the G20 next meets in September, Australia is going to have some explaining to do as to why they’re baulking on their commitment.
1. Polling results can be found at http://www.marketforces.org.au/ffs-polling.html