Friends of the Earth media release. June 24, 2014
An Australia Institute report released today shows the remarkable level of support given to the mining industry by state governments.
It shows that each state provides millions of dollars’ worth of assistance to mining industries every year and that over a six-year period, state governments in Australia spent $17.6 billion supporting the mineral and fossil fuel industries.
What is surprising is the support given by the Victorian government. $206 million over six years.
As expected, the largest mining states gave the most: Queensland’s assistance was by far the biggest, totalling $9.5 billion, followed by Western Australia’s at $6.2 billion.
What is surprising is the support given by the Victorian government: almost $206 million over six years. The report notes that Victoria’s assistance to the minerals and fossil fuel industry, particularly through its subsidisation of carbon capture and storage research, is almost equal in value to the amount Victoria receives from mining royalties.
“The state government is in a difficult position. On the one hand it says to the mining sector that Victoria is ‘open for business’. On the other it is facing an unparalleled resistance in regional Victoria to new coal and gas proposals and has been forced to put a halt on approvals for new onshore drilling” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker.
“In Victoria, 25 towns have already declared themselves coal or gasfield free, with an average of 95% support in polled communities. The growing opposition is not just about coal and gas. There is growing resistance to all invasive mining operations, like the planned open cut gold mine at Stawell and in the Wombat forest, and sustained resistance to mineral sands mining.
“According to the report, Victoria has given $206 million over the last six years to the mining sector. It covers financial support up to the 2013/14 financial year”.
And this spending continues, in spite of the halt on gas drilling and hold on new coal allocations. In the 2014/15 budget, it allocated $4 million for a coal development strategy to “maximise market opportunities” for this industry. It also gave the minerals and resources sector $15 million for grants towards the cost of minerals exploration. The government says this assistance will “reduce the barriers for attracting new exploration investment to the State.”
“The state government needs to understand that it can’t sit on the fence forever, telling the industry and the community different things. The Hazelwood fire inquiry has highlighted the economic and social costs of the coal industry. The government needs to stop throwing good public money at the fossil fuel industry. Expansion of this sector is opposed by most regional Victorians and would negatively impact on the thriving farming and tourism industries that already exist in the state”.
Further comment: Cam Walker 0419 338 047
The TAI report can be found here.
Victorian budget figures available here.