Thursday, November 10, 2011

Remind me please why I am subsidising oil companies?

You know how climate sceptics go on about the chardonnay-sipping tree-hugging socialists who are dependent on the nanny state, and how governments shouldn't subsidise renewable energy projects because that would be "picking winners"? Well today's Australian Financial Review lists $10 billion in annual subsidies we the taxpayers give to coal, oil and gas companies. (Story summary below)

Meanwhile today's Australian reports that squillionnaire Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest, the most aggressive critic of the mining tax, admits that his Fortescue Metals Group has never paid a cent of tax (although they say they will start this year).

That's awesome - I pay them to pollute the planet while they avoid tax and lobby against a sustainable economy. The big end of town is truly running the place to their benefit at our expense.

Here is my paraphrase of the AFR story by Marcus Priest (I can't link because of the AFR's paywall):
While Prime Minister Julia Gillard said coal would supply energy in Australia for at least another four decades, Greens leader Bob Brown said he had lobbied treasurer Wayne Swan to abolish subsidies to fossil fuel companies and apply the savings to education, health and transport.
Treasury and the Department of Resources last year identified $8 billion in fossil fuel subsidies including a concession to North West Shelf gas. After Greens deputy leader Christine Milne marked the passing of the carbon tax legislation with a call for a “national conversation about how we can move away from fossil fuels”, Nationals leader Warren Truss said The Greens would never be satisfied.
 The Australian Conservation Foundation has identified further benefits of up to $2 billion from depreciation allowances to the oil and gas industry under rules which should be overhauled according to the Henry tax review. But David Byers, chief executive of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association said the depreciation provisions had attracted investment that helped Australiawithstand the GFC. 

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