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Media Release

Queensland leads public opposition to mining industry fuel subsidy

24 January 2013

Melbourne, 24 January 2013

A nationwide survey has revealed strong opposition amongst Australians to fossil fuel subsidies. The poll, commissioned by new finance campaigning organisation Market Forces, comes alongside a new assessment showing federal subsidies to fossil fuels increasing by billions in the next few years.

Currently, through the Fuel Tax Credits Scheme, the mining industry receives a discount on their fuels such as petrol and diesel, amounting to about $2 billion annually. The polling found that 64% of Australians disapproved (28% strongly disapproved) of this measure, with Queensland showing the highest levels of opposition, at 72% disapproval (33% strongly disapprove).

Participants were also asked about the overall extent of subsidies that encourage fossil fuel use, which currently amount to over $10 billion per year. People who believed this amount to be too much outweighed those who considered it too little by a ratio of 4:1.

Market Forces campaigner Julien Vincent said: “It’s ridiculous that in their quest to achieve a budget surplus the Government has cut spending across every department while allowing subsidies that encourage fossil fuels to balloon.

“Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies such as the mining industry’s fuel discount would be fiscally and environmentally responsible, help deliver a surplus without causing financial pain to struggling Australians, contribute to meeting a commitment made by the G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, and be popular with the electorate.

Fossil fuel subsidies are estimated to exceed $13 billion per year in the next few years, vastly outweighing revenue taken from the carbon price.

“We have a multi-billion dollar policy conflict on our hands, as we penalise carbon pollution while at the same time spending billions to encourage the use of the dirtiest fuels. Instead of funding the problem, these subsidies could instead be used to complement the carbon price and speed up the deployment of renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuels.

“Come the Federal Budget this May, cutting fossil fuel subsidies should be top of Treasurer Swan’s list”, said Mr Vincent.

Complete results of the polling are available at: www.marketforces.org.au/ffs-polling