Media Release NSWQLDSA

No taxpayer coal bank: Polls show Australians back subsidies switch

As new Resources and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg announces that the $5 billion Northern Australia fund could be used to subsidise coal projects, including the Adani mine in the Galilee, research shows support ranging from 65% to 78% for a policy shift. 

According to a series of polls, commissioned by The Australia Institute as part of its ongoing research, removing subsidies for the fossil fuel and mining industries and redirecting those funds into services for people is immensely popular in Australia. 

Voters across Australia, and in several key electorates, were asked “Would you support or oppose taking the subsidies that federal and state government currently give to the mining industry and redirecting them to essential services like hospitals and schools?” 

“Whether in the coal mining seat of Newcastle (69% support), the regional seat of New England (76%) or the bellwether seat Eden Monaro (77%) – it’s clear that voters prioritise services over subsidies to mining and fossil fuels,” Executive Director of The Australia Institute, Ben Oquist said. 

“The polling shows that Malcolm Turnbull and his new Minister have an opportunity to embrace new economic leadership that would simultaneously be popular, good for the budget and the economy.” 

“Currently, the combined state and federal governments’ fossil fuel and mining subsidies in Australia are costing taxpayers about $7 billion a year. 

“Using taxpayers money to fund commercially unviable infrastructure projects through the $5 billion Northern Australia fund makes no sense economically, or politically. 

“Health and education are big job creators, while mining is more capital intensive and produces far fewer jobs per million dollars invested.

“It’s refreshing that Malcolm Turnbull is not the anti-renewable energy activist that Tony Abbott was, but a big new subsidy for coal would clearly undermine the new PM’s climate credentials,” Oquist said. 

Polling

ReachTEL conducted a series of surveys of 4,382 residents across various Federal electorates during the evening over the last 3 months. 

Each were asked:

“Would you support or oppose taking the subsidies that federal and state government currently give to the mining industry and redirecting them to essential services like hospitals and schools?” 

Sample 

Electorate

Support

Oppose

Undecided

764

Newcastle

69.0%

19.4%

10.7%

724

Eden Monaro

77.1%

6.2%

16.7%

713

New England

75.9%

7.2%

17.0%

728

North Sydney

65.2%

14.2%

20.6%

749

Sturt

66.3%

8.3%

25.4%

735

Wentworth

72.5%

7.5%

20.0%

733

Wide Bay

68.3%

13.4%

18.3% 

Immediately following the Queensland state election from 2-4 February 2015, Lonergan Research conducted a poll of 1,429 people randomly chosen from the state of Queensland. 

Respondents were asked:

The Newman government committed around $2bn of taxpayers’ money toward building the rail and road infrastructure in the Galilee Basin. Experts believe further investment is needed to make the coalmines viable. Who, if anyone, do you think should provide this investment? 

Total

The Government

17%

The Coal Industry

71%

Neither

12%

 

National Polling

A national poll of 1408 people, representative of the Australian population was conducted in July 2015. Respondents were asked:
Do you agree or disagree with redirecting federal and state government subsidies from the mining industry to essential services like health, education and infrastructure?

Response

Per cent

Strongly agree

40%

Agree

38%

Disagree

5%

Strongly disagree

2%

Not sure

15% 

Attachments

Attachment

Related research

Media Enquiries

Anna Chang Communications Director

0422 775 161

anna@tai.org.au