The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has called on the Morrison government to use the 2022 federal budget to invest heavily in clean export industries and land restoration – and to fund the investment by slashing fossil fuel subsidies.
ACF’s federal budget submission urges on the Morrison government to:
“Australia can become a global clean energy superpower in the next decade by replacing our exports of coal, gas and uranium with renewable-powered products like green hydrogen, steel and aluminium,” said ACF’s Economy & Democracy Program Manager Matt Rose.
“A report by Accenture released in 2021 identified clean export opportunities for Australia that have the potential to generate $89bn gross added value and 395,000 jobs by 2040.
“The federal government can grab the opportunities of the clean energy transition by co-investing $10 billion in clean export industries and establishing an energy transition authority to help regions and workers with the shift.
“Our clean air and water, land and resources underpin Australia’s health and prosperity. We must do more to protect and restore our natural capital, especially following bushfires and droughts and decades of over-clearing.
“To protect our big backyard ACF calls on the government to invest $2 billion a year over the next three years on a national conservation and land management program.”
The government could fund these new initiatives and make significant savings by cutting fossil fuel subsidies. Just one of these subsidies – the notorious Fuel Tax Credits scheme – cost taxpayers $7.8 billion in 2020-21.
“Australians pay almost 43 cents in tax for every litre of fuel they buy at a petrol station, but big mining companies like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto get a complete refund on diesel taxes under this scheme, which encourages climate pollution and discourages innovation.”