The Australian Greens have called on the federal government to end fossil fuel subsidies for big mining companies.
The Greens say costings by the Parliamentary Budget Office show that Labor’s spending on fossil fuel subsidies for mining companies will cost the public more than $13 billion over the next four years.
Included in these subsidies are diesel fuel tax rebates, accelerated depreciation on assets and accelerated depreciation on exploration.
“Why is the Gillard Government planning to hand over $13 billion in taxpayers’ money to big miners like Gina Rinehart, Twiggy Forrest and Clive Palmer while they take up to $100 a week from the pockets of single parents? This makes absolutely no sense,” Greens senator Christine Milne said.
In contrast, the government could spend the same amount on social services that benefit everyone.
The Greens say the government could choose to spend $1.8 billion on increasing the Newstart allowance by $50 a week, $620 million on increasing base funding for universities by 10%, $50 million on a grant scheme for more childcare centres and $360 million on supporting single parents and it would cost less than $3 billion a year — equal to the amount the government gives in subsidies to the wealthiest companies in Australia.
Milne said: “Public schools desperately need more funding, people on Newstart are living below the poverty line, and we need a national disability insurance scheme now.
“In this critical decade of global warming, why are we shovelling more money into fossil fuel companies to make it cheaper to pollute? These billions of dollars are fuelling global warming by helping big mining corporations pay their fuel bills and get special tax treatment for exploration to pay for more fossil fuels.”