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Australia spends $11 billion more encouraging pollution than cleaning it up

New analysis shows the Australian Government spends $11 billion more on subsidies that encourage greenhouse pollution than it does on programs to tackle climate change.

Our analysis shows funding for programs to address climate change has increased by about $500 million since 2007-08, but incentives that encourage pollution have ballooned by more than $1.5 billion.

“There has been a lot of good talk about addressing climate change, but unfortunately the numbers tell a different story,” said ACF Executive Director Don Henry.

“In 2007-08 our government spent $480 million on programs to tackle climate change, but then it spent $10.6 billion on subsidies that promoted fossil fuel use.

“This financial year the spending on climate programs is up to around $1 billion, but the fossil fuel subsidies are up too, to a massive $12 billion, meaning the Australian Government is spending $11 billion more encouraging pollution than on cleaning it up.

“We need a price on pollution to encourage investment in clean energy production and we need to cut the handouts that encourage industry to pollute for a tax break.

“The notorious Fringe Benefits Tax concession on company car use, which encourages company car drivers to drive their vehicles more, is one of the worst of the fossil fuel subsidies, costing taxpayers more than $1 billion a year.

“The Fringe Benefits Tax concession for company cars is like a virtual pollution factory, invisibly chugging out just as much greenhouse pollution every year as a medium-sized coal-fired power plant – only the fringe benefits tax break doesn’t produce any energy – it’s just a dead weight on the economy, the Budget and the environment.

“We need to stop putting taxpayers’ money into pollution promotion and start investing in clean energy, like wind and solar,” Mr Henry said.