Media Releases

March 2020

Highly Misleading Jobs and Emissions Claims Used to Justify Victorian Onshore Gas

As the Victorian Government announces it will allow over 100 gas wells on some of Victoria’s prime farmland, Australia Institute analysis of the Government’s own Victorian Gas Project Progress report finds the decision is based on misleading claims that exaggerate benefits, understate costs and ignore alternatives. The Government’s Victorian Gas Project Progress report reveals only

Coronavirus Stimulus: Right Size, Wrong Shape

“Looking at the Government’s coronavirus stimulus announcement, one thing stands out: the size is right for the initial response but the shape is wrong. The most effective form of stimulus makes up less than a quarter of the total package,” said Matt Grudnoff, Senior Economist at the Australia Institute, responding to the Morrison government’s stimulus

Stronger Controls Around Artificial Intelligence Needed

New technologies that deploy Artificial intelligence should be assessed for their social impact on citizens before they are allowed to be deployed, according to The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology. In its submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) discussion paper on human rights and technology, the Centre argues that a formal regulatory regime, rather

Taxpayers bear the cost for Government’s surplus fetish

New research by the Australia Institute shows the Government’s objective of achieving a budget surplus ignores the consequences of such an economic strategy—leaving Australian taxpayers to bear the burden of less government services, despite paying their taxes. The report reveals that the present Government commitment to return to a surplus of at least one per

Statement on NSW Scope 3 Emissions Bill Inquiry Report

The NSW Upper House Planning and Environment Committee has recommended rejection of a NSW Government bill on coal mines and their downstream, or ‘scope 3’ greenhouse emissions. The Committee’s report finds that “considering downstream greenhouse gas emissions supports international agreements aimed at reducing emissions and combating climate change”, including the Paris Agreement ratified by Australia

GDP Figures Show Australian Economy Stuck in the Slow Lane

Today’s announcement by the Australian Bureau of Statistics that GDP grew by 0.5% seasonally adjusted for the quarter and 2.2% over the last year shows the Australian economy remains sluggish. “Today’s figures confirm that GDP in Australia is still stuck in the slow lane. The last time the Australian economy grew above its long run

Tasmanian Hydrogen Plan: Good for Tasmania and Good for the Planet

The Australia Institute welcomes the Tasmanian Government’s announcement to invest into the hydrogen industry. ‘Green’ hydrogen is produced by splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen through a process of electrolysis. “Hydrogen has been touted as a renewable energy source, but that is only true if the energy used to create it in the first

Australian Summer Now Over One Month Longer

New research from the Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program shows that the Australian Summer is getting longer and Winter is getting shorter, due to global warming. The Australia Institute analysis uses Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) data to track changes in daily temperatures that mark the beginning of each season over the sub-tropical and temperate

February 2020

Statement regarding the Technology Investment Roadmap

“It is disappointing the Government intends to continue using unsuccessful technologies like Carbon Capture and Storage as a smokescreen for the expansion of high-polluting fossil fuel production in Australia,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute. “The Minister has claimed an indicator of the success of a technology is private

Massive Facial Recognition Hack Highlights Need to Call Pause

The hack of billions of photos from an Australian start-up, Clearview AI, which harvests photos from social media and bundles the information for law enforcement agencies, reinforces the need to place a moratorium on facial recognition technology. The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology is supporting the Australian Human Rights Commission’s proposal for a moratorium

Up ‘effluent creek’: Basin Plan projects to damage sensitive waterways

Some of the Murray Darling Basin’s best managed waterways would be damaged by water infrastructure projects that benefit major corporate irrigators, according to a new report by water consultants Slattery & Johnson and think tank The Australia Institute. The Yanco Creek System, which links the Murrumbidgee and the Murray rivers, is declared a “jewel” of

Bushfire Response: International Experts Open Letter Call for Native Logging Ban

An open letter signed by Australian and international forestry and climate experts, published by the Australia Institute today, has called for the immediate nationwide cessation of all native forest logging in response to the climate, fire, drought and biodiversity loss crises currently facing Australia. The letter, signed by scientists from countries including Australia, USA, Canada, New

Equinor Out – Time to Give Great Australian Bight World Heritage Protection

The Australia Institute has welcomed reports that Norwegian oil giant Equinor is withdrawing from its plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight and has said that the Federal and South Australian governments should now move towards permanent protection and World Heritage listing for the Bight. Australia Institute research has previously shown that

Net-Zero by 2050 Emissions Target Provides Community & Business Certainty

“A net-zero target by 2050 provides Australian communities and businesses with long-term certainty and direction. The Australia Institute welcomes the announcement, which aligns with the targets of every Australian state and territory,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute. “More policy will of course be needed to work out how

Beechworth Principles Strong Step Towards Federal Anti-Corruption Watchdog

The Australia Institute and National Integrity Committee has welcomed Independent MP Helen Haines’ Beechworth Principles as a positive step towards the legislation of a proper Federal Anti-Corruption watchdog with teeth. “After joining the crossbench’s strong call for a federal anti-corruption watchdog, it is encouraging to see Helen Haines backing those sentiments with action with the

Child Classifications Must Include Gambling in Computer Games

The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology has called for an extension in the way computer games are classified, to capture design architecture that exposes children to addictive, gambling-based content in many common games. In a submission to the Department of Communications review into the classification system, the Centre for Responsible Technology argues that the

NSW Coal More Polluting than Total UK Emissions, Should be Considered by Planners

New research from The Australia Institute shows that the New South Wales Government’s attempts to force planners to ignore the carbon emissions of the state’s coal exports contradicts NSW climate policy, the Paris Agreement, corporate expectations and economic opportunities for growth. Key findings NSW coal emissions are bigger than direct emissions from France and the

January 2020

Army Call-Out ‘Political Theatre’ that Raises Legal Questions

New research by The Australia Institute finds that the Commonwealth’s ‘call-out’ of Army Reserves for bushfire relief served political rather than practical purposes, raising serious legal questions around the use of the military. The Prime Minister today announced the call-out of Army Reserves for bushfire relief would end on February 7, with some reservists ending their

Survey Reveals: Bushfires Cost 1.8 million Work Days, Leave 5 Million Sick from Smoke

New national survey research from The Australia Institute reveals most Australians have been personally impacted by the bushfires and smoke, including millions missing work or suffering health impacts. Additionally, the research shows concern about the impacts of climate change are especially high among those directly affected by the fires, as is the wish for the

‘Watergate’ water “not value for money” even at half price according to Department

Research released by The Australia Institute today reveals new information on the Commonwealth’s controversial purchase of water rights in the Condamine Balonne valley for $80 million in 2017. The Government has refused to release independent valuations of the water rights, despite requests from the Senate, with newly released documents showing similar deals had been repeatedly

Australia’s Interests in the Middle East Better Served by Diplomacy than a Military Deployment

Australia’s extensive interests in the Middle East would be better served by an active and well-resourced diplomacy than tokenistic actions such as the deployment of small and ultimately inconsequential military forces, according to a new report released by the Australia Institute today. As Australia sends a deployment to the Strait of Hormuz, President Trump’s decision

Fossil Fuel Levy for Fire Recovery Would Boost SA Jobs and Economy

A National Climate Disaster Fund, financed by a levy on fossil fuel producers, would help South Australia to recover from the current bushfire crisis and prepare for the worsening fire seasons expected in the future, a leading think tank has said. The Australia Institute is proposing the creation of a National Climate Disaster Fund, financed by a

New Tasmanian Leader an Opportunity to Change Direction on Privatisation, Transparency

The Australia Institute wishes Premier Will Hodgman, one of Tasmania’s most popular premiers, all the best for his future endeavours. The Premier can be proud of many of his achievements, particularly leading the government into a pro-renewable energy stance. Will Hodgman’s retirement will present both a challenge and opportunity for the Tasmanian Government, The Australia

Concern about climate escalates as bushfire crisis continues: Climate of the Nation polling

The current bushfire crisis has intensified Australians’ concern about climate change and its impacts, according to new polling from the Australia Institute’s Climate of the Nation. The Australia Institute commissioned YouGov, which surveyed 1,033 Australians between 8 and 12 January 2020 on issues relating to climate change and the bushfires. Climate of the Nation is

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