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 levy of $1 per tonne of carbon dioxide pollution resulting from all coal, gas and oil produced in Australia. Australia Institute research has shown that such a levy would currently raise around $1.5 billion a year.
“A National Climate Disaster Fund, financed by a levy on fossil fuel producers across the country, is needed to help South Australia rebuild from these fires,” says Noah Schultz-Byard, SA Director of The Australia Institute.
“Any increase to South Australia’s Emergency Services Levy is not the answer, as it would take what should be the financial responsibility of fossil fuel companies and place it on regular South Australian households.
“These extreme fires are being fuelled by the activities of a few huge coal and gas companies, mostly operating in QLD, NSW and WA. Why should ordinary South Australian households and businesses be left to pay for the costs of their actions?
“South Australia is transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy but, as Australian and global emissions continue to rise, we will continue to suffer the increasingly severe effects of climate change.
“A modest national levy on fossil fuel production would have a strong positive effect on South Australia’s economy and it would help communities like Kangaroo Island and the Mt Lofty Ranges in their time of need.
“A levy on fossil fuel producers is good social, environmental and economic policy. We could pay for more firefighters and equipment, help to protect properties against future disasters and provide recovery grants to businesses and households. We could fund large infrastructure projects to protect our roads, water and communications infrastructure, while also boosting the economy and creating many high quality jobs for South Australians.”