In Mining the age of entitlement: State government assistance to the minerals and fossil fuel sector The Australia Institute has detailed the extent to which Australian states and territories underwrite the profits of private companies in the minerals and fossil fuel sector with public money.
The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has responded to this research stating the “mining industry receives no subsidies”.
The Australia Institute has detailed a range of avenues in which state and territory governments have spent $17.6 billion in public money to support the mineral and fossil fuel industries. The important aspect of this research, besides calculating the amount of support is that it identifies the various forms in which the support is provided. It is not wholly provided as a direct subsidy (the definition used by the MCA) to the sector or individual companies.
The complexity of identifying and quantifying this support is due to the range of assistance programs, capital projects and government-owned businesses used by states to support the minerals and fossil fuel sector.
The level of expenditure dedicated to minerals and fossil fuel industries is identified in the report as “wholly” ($9.4 billion); “primarily” ($4.5 billion); and “partly” ($3.8 billion). This recognises that in some instances benefit is provided to other industries and in some cases the public.
A full list of projects and programs identified in state and territory budget papers and the level of dedicated support provided to the minerals and fossil fuel sector is included in Appendix C of the paper.
Any remaining questions over how much support is provided to the sector would be answered through clearer reporting in the budget papers of each state and territory.