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Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Email to the Treasurer for Budget 2023: stop subsidising fossil fuels

Dear Treasurer, Jim Chalmers
I know this is a late request and that the major decisions for Budget 2023 have already been made and signed off.

Yet as an Australian citizen who takes a strong interest in politics and Federal Government decisions, I feel it is important to register my suggestions for the budget. 

Addressing the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises are uppermost in my mind. But I am also aware of cost of living pressures, the housing crisis, the health crisis and level of poverty that low jobseeker, single parent and other government allowances engender,and the extent of the government deficit. And the change in global geopolitics has meant increased defence spending. 

Addressing all these issues requires hard choices. I'd like you firstly to reconsider the Stage 3 tax cuts, which addresses the revenue side. These were legislated prior to the pandemic. I don't think they were good taxation policy even when formulated, now they are disastrous.They greatly increase inequality while reducing government revenue at a t8ime of large deficits.

I know that tax subsidies to Fossil fuel companies are running at about $11 billion per year. We need to stop offering carrots to fossil fuels. I know it is difficult cutting a program of subsidies, but perhaps there can be staged phaseout over a the forward estimates? Now would be the time to start such a phaseout as part of addressing budget repair.

I would also like to see  the Petroleum resource rent tax (PRRT) legislation updated to better capture windfall profits of fossil fuel companies. It is a disgrace that Australia does not have a sovereign weath fund that shares the huge profits that have been made in mining and export of our fossil fuel and mineral resources.

Minister, I know the Regional development Fund , CEFC and ARENA are helping to fund renewables expansion, renewable hydrogen, green steel. This investment is vital to develop a renewable-powered export industry.. Green steel and aluminium made by us is natural value adding supporting Australian jobs and industry.

My last request is that the Budget establish a National Energy Transition Authority to effectively manage the impacts for workers and communities of phase-out of coal and gas in our electricity sector as we ramp up renewable energy solutions supported by pumped hydro and grid level batteries, and micro-grids.

Treasurer, I know your government is already acting on climate change, but the speed of action in multiple sectors is also important. I have read the latest IPCC 6th assessment Synthesis report and understand the climate crisis we are in. Given this, I think my suggestions above are moderate and sensible.

Yours sincerely,
John Englart

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