The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s call for the phase out of the Fuel Tax Credit scheme, which gives massive diesel subsidies to some of Australia’s biggest mining companies, including BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

“While most Australians pay around 40 cents in tax for every litre of fuel they buy at a servo, big mining companies like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto get a complete refund on diesel taxes under this scheme,” said ACF’s Economy & Democracy Program Manager Matt Rose.

“This subsidy encourages climate pollution, discourages innovation and costs Australian taxpayers more than $7 billion a year.

“At the Glasgow COP nearly 200 countries, including Australia, committed to speed up the end of fossil fuel subsidies.

“The time is right to remove costly government handouts that prop up a fossil fuel-based economy and invest this money in helping small and medium sized companies access technology that doesn’t require polluting diesel fuel to drive and power their businesses.”

The cost for the fuel tax credit subsidy is forecast to reach around $8.9 billion by 2024.

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