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Speech on Labor's fossil fuel subsidies

On February 7, I moved a motion in Parliament calling on the Government to end fossil fuel subsidies and gave a speech.


That this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) Vanuatu's Minister of Climate Change, Ralph Regenvanu, would only back Australia's bid to host the 2026 COP if Australia does not commit to any new coal or gas handouts; and

(b) the Government's first budget has over $40 billion in fossil fuel subsidies including $1.9 billion to open up a new LNG terminal and petrochemical hub in Darwin Harbour; and

(2) calls on the Government to end fossil fuel subsidies.

If we want to tackle climate change then we need a plan to phase out of coal, oil and gas. But right now not only is this Labor government actively supporting opening up over 100 new coal and gas mines, but it's using public money to make it happen.

Australia is the world's third-biggest exporter of coal, oil and gas—behind only Saudi Arabia and Russia. Australia alone is responsible for 20 per cent of the OECD's fossil fuel exports. Let's be very clear about who Labor represents in this parliament: it's the coal, oil and gas corporations who are not only making record war profits while paying next nothing in tax, but are receiving billions of dollars in government cash handouts. Frankly, this special treatment has come pretty cheap. Of the $2 million donated by fossil fuel corporations—including from Santos, Woodside, APPEA, Chevron, the Minerals Council—$1.4 million went to Labor. In return, those fossil fuel corporations will get $40 billion of government subsidies over the next four years.

Six of the 10 biggest recipients of the fuel credits tax, which is the biggest of those subsidies, are coal-mining corporations. But really the biggest subsidy fossil fuel corporations like Santos get is a tax regime that sees a cleaner pay more tax in dollar terms than some of the world's biggest multinational coal, oil and gas corporations. In the last reportable tax year, the top 20 coal, oil and gas companies made $150 billion of revenue and paid only $30—not $30 billion, but $30—in tax. It's a sick joke. Labor claims to care about climate change, but Labor's policy is crystal clear: keep mining and exporting coal and gas past 2050 regardless of the consequences.

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