Media Releases | 3rd Mar, 2014

Cutting Fossil Fuel Subsidies a boon for the budget, reduces pollution

3 March 2014

An alliance of Australia’s leading environment and community organisations has today renewed its call for the Australian Government to cut fossil fuel subsidies. The federal government currently spends over $10 billion a year on incentives for burning fossil fuels and for new fossil fuel extraction projects, with significant impacts on the environment and the budget bottom line.

New figures compiled by Environment Victoria and Market Forces show that over $40 billion will be spent in the next four years on tax-based federal government subsidies alone, unless action is taken at the upcoming budget.

Environment Victoria, one of the leading groups behind the “Paid to Pollute” alliance, said that cutting fossil fuel subsidies is consistent with the federal government’s approach to other industries.

Safe Climate Campaign Manager Nicholas Aberle said: “the Treasurer is telling Australians that the age of entitlement is over, so that should apply equally to the fossil fuel industry, which is far more profitable and polluting than many who are facing cuts.”

Julien Vincent, Lead Campaigner of Market Forces said: “Time and again, Australians have called for an end to wasteful spending such as the $2 billion taxpayer-funded discount the mining industry gets each year on its fuel.

“Cutting fossil fuel subsidies 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 the government.”

Dr Aberle added that cutting fossil fuel subsidies is an essential step for the government’s action on climate change. “With the proposed introduction of the Emissions Reduction Fund, it doesn’t make sense to pay companies to reduce their emissions while simultaneously paying them to pollute more. It is like putting your foot on the accelerator and the brakes at the same time.”

Alliance members, and dozens of community organisations, have signed onto a joint statement calling for the removal of fossil fuel subsidies.

Member organisations of the Paid to Pollute alliance can be found here >

For comment:

Julien Vincent
Lead Campaigner
Market Forces
0419 179 529

Learn more about the Paid to Pollute campaign >