With a major report from the OECD and International Energy Agency released overnight highlighting Australia's heavy subsidisation of polluting fossil fuels, the Australian Greens today called for the perverse subsidies to be wound back.
"It's time for the Australian government to get serious about the billions of dollars we spend every year encouraging pollution," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"The OECD IEA report, taking an independent look at our subsidies, shows up the government's extraordinary claim that we have none and makes the strong economic case to wind them back.
"The report once again makes a mockery of calls for policies which support renewable energy and energy efficiency to be wound back on the basis that they distort the market. Until these multi-billion dollar fossil fuel subsidies are wound back, there is no level playing field and renewables and efficiency are further disadvantaged.
"It is worth noting that even the Institute for Public Affairs opposed the use of fossil fuel subsidies at a recent hearing of the Joint Select Committee on Australia's Clean Energy Future, although Dr Moran expressed doubt that any such subsidies existed.
"Now that the OECD and IEA have confirmed their existence once again, I look forward to Dr Moran's statement calling for them to be removed.
"With the IEA and OECD report highlighting accelerated depreciation subsidies, it is time for their removal.
"It is absolutely inexcusable that the mining and petroleum industries got the benefit of a 6% reduction in corporate tax ten years ago but successfully fought to hold onto the accelerated depreciation subsidies which they originally agreed to give up in exchange.
"The government can and should move on this immediately.
"It is deeply disappointing that this issue has been sidelined by the tax forum in the last two days. The ACF was the only environmental group invited to the front table during the opening business section of the forum but was denied the floor until the closing moments, effectively allowing the business heavy hitters off the hook.
"When fossil fuel subsidies were raised in later sessions, business leaders were not at the table to debate the issue.
"Now that Australia is moving to put a price on carbon pollution, it is time to ensure that the full cost of polluting is properly borne by the polluters.
"Removing perverse fossil fuel subsidies will save taxpayers billions of dollars every year and will increase the effectiveness of pricing pollution."
The OECD IEA report is at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/56/21/48785193.pdf