Media Releases | 10th Apr, 2013

National alliance formed to take back $10 billion handouts from big polluters

National alliance formed to take back $10 billion handouts from big polluters

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Australia’s leading environment and community organisations have this week launched a new alliance to call for the Australian Government to cut fossil fuel subsidies at the upcoming federal budget in May.

The Australian Government currently spends over $10 billion a year on subsidies for fossil fuel use, with significant impacts on the environment and the budget bottom line. 

Environment Victoria, one of the leading groups behind the alliance, said that cutting fossil fuel subsidies was an essential next step for the government’s action on climate change.

“It’s very difficult to stop climate change when our governments are simultaneously funding it with billions of dollars of handouts to polluters. This budget is a golden opportunity to cut the handouts, cut pollution, and put billions of dollars back on the table for important government priorities,” said Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, Safe Climate Campaign Manager at Environment Victoria.

Tony Mohr, Climate Campaign Manager at the Australian Conservation Foundation said:

“This is a handout to a mining industry that sends over 80 per cent of its profits overseas. If anything is being mined, it’s the public purse. When the government is facing budget pressure, and key policies like the Gonski education reforms sit unfunded, it’s madness to spend billions on wealthy companies that simply send their profits overseas.”

WWF National Manager for Climate Change Kellie Caught said:

“It makes no sense to fund emission reductions on the one hand, and then provide fossil fuel subsidies that increase emissions on the other. We should stop subsidising fossil fuels, and support clean renewable energy instead.”

Alliance members have signed onto a joint statement calling for the removal of fossil fuel subsidies in the upcoming May budget, and are engaging their members to support the campaign with a major petition to all federal MPs and community actions across the country in coming weeks.  

The Paid to Pollute alliance includes member groups Environment Victoria, Australian Conservation Foundation, WWF, Greenpeace, 100% Renewable Energy, Australian Youth Climate Coalition,, Climate and Health Alliance, Quit Coal, Market Forces, Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Queensland Conservation Council, Conservation Council of WA, Conservation Council of SA, and the Environment Centre Northern Territory. 

At the same time, a new report co-authored by Environment Victoria and Market Forces has tracked the projected government expenditure on fossil fuel subsidies over four years. It shows over $44 billion will be spent by 2015/16 on tax-based federal government subsidies alone unless action is taken at the upcoming budget.

Julien Vincent, Lead Campaigner of Market Forces said “Ending polluter handouts makes sense economically, environmentally and would be a winner with the Australian public. Short of gift-wrapping this option, it’s hard to know how to make cancelling fossil fuel subsidies more appealing”. 

For comment

Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, Environment Victoria Safe Climate Campaign Manager: 0428 480 409

Tony Mohr, ACF Climate Campaign Manager: 0408 806 206

Kellie Caught, WWF National Manager for Climate Change: 0406 383 277

Julien Vincent, Market Forces Lead Campaigner: 0419 179 529

Further information about the campaign is available at >

To download the Environment Victoria and Market Forces report please click here >