The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the passage of the strengthened safeguard mechanism through the Senate and called on the Albanese government to complement the domestic emissions policy with measures to cut Australia’s exported pollution.
“ACF welcomes the strengthening of the safeguard mechanism, which is the start of tackling Australia’s big emissions problem,” said ACF’s Climate & Energy Program Manager, Gavan McFadzean.
“The improvements to the safeguard mechanism will cut emissions from Australia’s biggest polluters and make it much harder for big new gas projects, like the Beetaloo Basin, to go ahead.
“The government must urgently complement this domestic emissions policy with serious measures to cut Australia’s exported pollution.
“The emissions from Australia’s coal and gas exports are double what we produce at home.
“Research shows replacing our coal and gas exports with clean exports is doable – and it could support more than 400,000 jobs and contribute $100 billion to the economy by 2040.
“Amendments to legislation this week have ruled out public money going to coal and gas via the National Reconstruction Fund, the Powering the Regions Fund and the Industry Research and Development Act. These are important moves.
“Next, we look to the May budget to start to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, which cost taxpayers around $11 billion dollars a year.
“The worst of these subsidies is the Fuel Tax Credit scheme, which drains $8 billion a year from the budget.
“While Australian motorists pay 47c a litre in tax when they fill up their cars at the servo, the Fuel Tax Credit scheme allows hugely profitable mining companies like Glencore and BHP to effectively pay no tax for their diesel fuel.
“It encourages pollution, stifles innovation and is a massive drag on the budget.
“The strengthened mechanism is an important start on domestic climate action, but to show real climate leadership the government should now move to cut Australia’s exported pollution, phase out fossil fuel subsidies and stop approving new coal and gas projects.”
Header pic by Kees Torn