On the eve of the Federal Budget more than 50,000 of the Australian Conservation Foundation’s members and supporters have petitioned Joe Hockey, calling on the Treasurer to cut fossil fuel subsidies.

ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy wrote to the Treasurer yesterday, urging him to heed the call of the 51,805 people who have signed the petition.

“The most notorious of Australia’s fossil fuel subsidies is the Fuel Tax Credits scheme, which costs the Government around $6 billion every year in forfeited expenditure,” Ms O’Shanassy said.

“ACF has proposed a simple reform to the fuel tax credits scheme that would prevent a lot of pollution and save the federal budget $15 billion over the forward estimates. 

“While most Australians pay 38.9 cents in tax per litre of fuel when we fill up at a petrol station, big mining companies like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto get a complete tax refund on their diesel under this scheme.”

ACF proposes a $20,000 cap per claimant, so those making small claims, like farmers, are not adversely affected.  The average claim for farmers who receive a diesel rebate from is well below $20,000.  In comparison the coal mining industry’s average claim is almost $950,000.  

“Our proposal would apply a price signal to big mining companies’ fuel use, giving them an incentive to adapt their business methods and make their operations more energy efficient,” Ms O’Shanassy said.

“It would cut pollution and clean up our air at the same time as saving money in the Budget.  I urge the Treasurer to put the interests of Australians ahead of the interests of big international mining companies.”

Read ACF’s research: Subsidising Big Coal: Handouts to Australia’s biggest coal mining companies through the Fuel Tax Credits Scheme

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.