The next federal budget is a critical opportunity for the Albanese Government to drive down emissions. Here’s why:
How our governments choose to spend our public money is a big decision. If managed responsibly, public finance can make our communities and nature thrive.
But right now, every minute, our federal and state governments are handing over $22,219 in public money to polluting coal and gas – industries fuelling climate damage like fires, floods and droughts.
Research by the Australia Institute shows that last financial year government subsidies for fossil fuels cost Australians $11.6 billion.¹ In the same period, climate-fuelled floods devastated communities and wildlife in Queensland and New South Wales.
We spend more public money on the fossil fuel industry than on public schools. And government subsidies for fossil fuels could increase further still and aid the industry to expand.
Currently, Australia has 114 new coal and gas projects in the pipeline, including Woodside's mega-polluting Scarborough project. If all the projects were to go ahead they would almost double our current domestic emissions. And that’s not including any emissions from exporting the coal and gas overseas!
Already we are the world’s biggest exporters of coal and gas. In fact, Australia's fossil fuel exports contribute to 5% of global emissions. No matter where polluting fuels like coal and gas are burnt, it drives climate impacts here and across the world.
If we are to slash pollution now for a safe climate future, we cannot afford to keep squandering public money on digging, expanding, exporting and burning coal and gas.
Gas is mainly made up of methane – a toxic and dense greenhouse gas that is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Just like coal, mining and burning gas drives climate damage.
Our new federal government has made progress in lifting our climate target and it has signalled its intent to make Australia a renewable superpower.² But to truly drive down emissions, the Albanese Government must immediately end public funding for fossil fuels.
It’s a simple equation: ramping up renewables can only slash climate pollution if coal and gas are phased out.
That’s why the federal budget is critical. It’s our new government’s first big chance to stop spending public money on climate-wrecking industries and invest more in renewables so that we keep slashing pollution.
In just five minutes, about the same time it takes to read this blog, the fossil fuel industry has received more money in subsidies alone than the average Australian earns in a year.
Australia is uniquely placed to make the shift away from fossil fuels to renewables, and the benefits extend beyond slashing pollution for a safer climate.
We are the sunniest and windiest country in the world, have an abundance of the critical minerals needed to make renewable energy and have a skilled ready-to-go workforce that can power new renewable industries. At the same time, big global markets with which we have strong trade relationships, like Japan and Korea, are looking to decarbonise rapidly. Australia can provide them with the renewable-powered goods and services they need.
Instead of funding fossil fuels, our governments can invest in, and generate billions of dollars from, renewable exports like:
Independent research commissioned by environment organisations, unions and business groups found that these renewable exports could create 395,000 new jobs in Australia and add $89 billion to our economy by 2040.³
But if we don’t act now, we’ll miss out. Despite our many advantages, other countries are moving quickly to establish themselves as renewables exports leaders and corner the market.
The Albanese Government must seize the moment and invest now to make Australia a renewables exports leader.
We can’t afford to keep handing over public money to polluting industries that drive climate damage like fires, floods and droughts. Switching to renewable exports is the climate incredible solution that will drive down emissions and future-proof our economy.
In the leadup to the budget, sign the petition and call on our Prime Minister, Energy Minister and Environment Minister to end coal and gas in Australia to ramp up climate action.
This decade is crucial for climate action, and we the people need to keep raising our voices and demand our government steps up – just like we did at the 2022 federal election.
Every signature helps build a stronger case for when we deliver the petition. Together we can urge our government to use public money responsibly, and drive down emissions so we protect our communities and wildlife for generations to come.
¹ The Australia Institue: ‘Fossil fuel subsidies in Australia’
² ABC News: ‘Anthony Albanese acceptance speech’
³ Australian Conservation Foundation: ‘Sunshot report’