Australia’s peak oil and gas lobby group has called for tax incentives in the next federal budget, while conservation groups demand fossil fuel subsidies be slashed.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association also wants more support for controversial carbon capture, storage and use technologies via changes to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act.

The group’s budget submission on Monday says this will help the industry decarbonise and cut emissions.

“Australia and its government have a massive, once-in-a-generation opportunity to make policy decisions to provide foundations for the future growth of our economy,” APPEA chief executive Andrew McConville said.

Changes called for include making salary and wages immediately deductible, expanding incentives for smaller oil and gas companies, and removing “inefficiencies and duplication” in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Meanwhile, the Australian Conservation Foundation wants the Morrison government to slash fossil fuel subsidies, while investing heavily in clean export and land restoration.

The foundation wants to see a $10 billion investment in clean export industries, a $5 billion regional energy transition authority established, and a $2 billion three-yearly spend on conservation and land management.

“Australia can become a global clean energy superpower in the next decade by replacing our exports of coal, gas and uranium with renewable-powered products like green hydrogen, steel and aluminium,” the ACF’s Matt Rose said.

“Our clean air and water, land and resources underpin Australia’s health and prosperity. We must do more to protect and restore our natural capital, especially following bushfires and droughts and decades of over-clearing.”

The ACF said the government could fund this by cutting subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, including a tax credits scheme costing taxpayers $7.8 billion in 2020/21.

The St Vincent de Paul Society called on $2 billion to fund a national energy program, to support people on low incomes.

Together with states and territories, this would upgrade and put in place minimum standards for energy efficiency in social and community housing.


Georgie Moore
(Australian Associated Press)