Powering the Regions Fund Likely to Subsidise Coal & Gas Giants

Experts have warned that The Australian Government’s Powering the Regions Fund (PRF) will be used to subsidise fossil fuel projects.

As currently proposed, the fund could leave Australian taxpayers bankrolling upgrades for global gas and coal giants that have reaped tens of billions of dollars in windfall profits and pay little if any tax in Australia.

The $600 million “Safeguard Transformation Fund” stream of the PRF, as proposed is likely to bankroll upgrades to LNG plants and coal mines, companies whose purpose is to increase fossil fuel supply and global emissions.

Key Points:

  • The Powering the Regions Fund adds to a series of subsidies by the Albanese Government largely aimed at the fossil fuel industry including $1.5 billion to a petrochemical hub in Darwin and $1 billion of  the National Reconstruction Fund.
  • The fossil fuel industry already receives $11.6b in government subsidies in Australia
  • The Minerals Council of Australia, which represents many of the largest coal producers is calling for the fund to be increased.
  • Last year global energy giants made up to $80 billion in windfall profits exporting Australian coal and gas.
  • Many of the companies most likely to benefit pay little no company or resource taxes in Australia.
  • There are over 100 new coal, oil and gas projects in the major projects pipeline in Australia, like PEP 11 off the NSW Coast, the NT Gas Hub and the plan to frack the Beetaloo Basin

“It is extraordinary that the funding aimed at decarbonising Australian industry is likely to flow largely to fossil fuel producers whose sole purpose is to expand fossil fuel production and global emissions”, says Mark Ogge, Principal Adviser at The Australia Institute.

“The Government can fix this immediately simply by ruling out fossil fuel producers from the Powering the Regions Fund.

“Why are Australian taxpayers bankrolling upgrades for global coal and gas giants awash with windfall profits, in part from gouging Australian customers for our own resources.

“Many of these companies spend more on political donations than they pay in company or resource taxes.

“Funding to decarbonise Australian manufacturing is desperately needed, and it is tragic that this funding is likely to flow to LNG producers and coal miners instead.”

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