The anti-fracking campaign Frack Free Future has called on the major political parties to declare their position on tax-payer subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
The call comes on the back of a survey which shows the public does not support the subsidies, and follows the revelation in the State Budget that the government plans to channel Royalties for Regions money back into mining company coffers via exploration subsidies.
The latest ReachTEL poll, conducted on behalf of environmental groups, found that 70.5% of respondents in WA agreed that fuel subsidies for mining companies should be stopped because they made significant profits.
“We find it quite incredible that the State Government continues to prop up such a lucrative industry,” said Frack Free Future spokesman Jules Kirby.
“On top of other subsidies they already receive, the State Government has committed yet another $30 million in last week’s state budget to subsidise exploration for oil and gas companies in WA through the Exploration Incentive Scheme.
“The fact that this money comes from the National Party’s signature Royalties for Regions funding seems incredible, since many farmers, who are a key constituency for the party, are against exploration for oil and gas on their land, particularly when it uses hydraulic fracturing.
“Royalties for Regions funding is supposed to be used to support regional communities, not to support industries that have the potential to damage those communities with their dirty and unsafe practices.”
Mr Kirby called on the National Party to take the lead and make its policy on funding for the subsidies clear.
“In the past, the Nationals have voiced the opinion that the Exploration Incentive Scheme should be funded through consolidated revenue, not Royalties for Regions,” he said.
“Now $30 million of Royalties for Regions funding has been committed to subsidise mining exploration, and we aren’t hearing anything from the Nationals about it.
“Royalties for Regions should not be subsidising oil and gas exploration, particularly on farmland, because we already have a strong and productive agricultural industry established on that land.
“Why would the government want to jeopardise an existing industry by subsidising a dirty industry?
“The government is continuing to pour Royalties for Regions money into an industry that should be supporting itself, and we are surprised that the major parties aren’t up in arms about it.”
An Australia-wide ReachTEL survey released earlier this week found that 64% of respondents would be more likely to vote for a party seeking 100% renewable energy options in 20 years.
Note: the latest ReachTEL poll was conducted on behalf of WWF, GetUp and the Australian Conservation Foundation.