Better ways to spend taxes than handouts to miners
March 22, 2012
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) supports any move to reform the wasteful, out-of-date fuel tax credit scheme, a $2 billion handout to wealthy mining companies that unnecessarily distorts our economy.
“Our cities are crying out for better transport, yet we give mining companies with record profits a $2 billion gift to keep driving their trucks,” said Charles Berger, Director of Strategic Ideas at ACF.
“This makes no policy or environmental sense. Make no mistake, this is mining companies receiving about $85 for every Australian man, woman and child.
At present, the federal government is spending about half as much money paying for businesses’ fuel as it does on funding our public schools. How do we explain that to parents and teachers of those children?
“By removing this handout, we could put a significant dent in the cost of important policies like the disability insurance scheme, public dental cover for all Australians, or both parties’ parental leave schemes. Or we could of course spend that money on vital measures to reduce pollution in coming years,” said Mr Berger.
“The $2 billion mining companies receive annually is up from $1.2 billion in the 2005-06 financial year. So during one of the greatest mining booms in history, miners have had access to an extra $800 million of taxpayers’ money.
“Just today, media reports predict iron ore exports will double by 2016-17. This is not an industry that needs our help, or our handouts.
“While hard-working Australians in the fast-growing western suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney, who have minimal access to public transport, pay 33 cents per litre in tax on petrol just to get to work, their taxes help businesses get it for next to nothing,” Mr Berger said.
“This is $2 billion dollars of taxpayer money that could be much better spent elsewhere."