Environment Victoria has described today’s budget as a lost opportunity to remove fossil fuel subsidies, and a disappointing result for the environment and clean energy. However Environment Victoria said the Budget signals that the Government has lost patience with so-called clean coal technologies which lost over $600 million in previously announced funding.
Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said tonight:
“With the Government recording a massive deficit it’s deeply disappointing that the Government didn’t take the opportunity to protect taxpayers’ money and withdraw the annual $10 billion polluter handout.
“Only one of the 5 major fossil fuel subsidies has been cut – with taxpayers to save $1.1 billion over the next 4 years from the Government’s decision to reduce depreciation for mining exploration and prospecting. That decision is welcome, however other wasteful and polluting programs like the $5.9 billion Fuel Tax Credits program which subsidies the diesel costs of wealthy mining companies were left untouched.
“Astonishingly our most polluting power stations will continue to receive billions of dollars in carbon price compensation despite the fact that the carbon price impact will be much lower than anticipated.”
Mr Wakeham said however that the Government appeared to be giving up on so-called clean-coal technologies:
“The ill-considered Carbon Capture and Storage flagships project lost another $500 million in this Budget, and is now left with $1 billion of the original $2.4 billion announced. Even with billions of dollars of public money on the table that technology is dying a quiet death.
“Of great concern however are cuts to important elements of the Clean Energy Future Package, including delaying renewable energy funding for ARENA and cutting $98 million from the Low Carbon Communities program.”
Mr Wakeham said that biodiversity programs were largely intact, however the Biodiversity fund and Caring for our Country programs both had funding cut despite their success to date.
“Overall despite a few positive elements this budget represents a missed opportunity for the Gillard Government to consolidate Australia’s transition to a low carbon economy and to protect taxpayers’ funding by ending wasteful and polluting fossil fuel subsidies.”