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Three Sisters of the outback in Carisbrooke, Australia
Three Sisters of the outback in Carisbrooke, Australia. Image by David Waterworth.

Fossil Fuels

Twiggy Forrest Pushing To Redirect Australia’s Diesel Rebate To Fund Green Hydrogen

Andrew (Twiggy) Forrest of Fortescue Metals has poked a stick in the eye of two of the biggest Australian export industries. He has managed to upset farmers and miners alike by privately lobbying the Australian government to divert fossil fuel subsidies. He is proposing the scheme be gradually phased out from 2025 to 2030 for the largest diesel users, while leaving the program available to smaller businesses and farmers. He is enthusiastically supported by the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Australia has a Fuel Tax Credits Scheme to ensure that rural businesses, that rely heavily on diesel, are not disadvantaged by paying excise on its use off-road. Up to 30% of the cost of diesel is federal tax nominally imposed for the upkeep of roads.

Scrapping the refund scheme would save the federal government $8 billion.

Farmonline reports, “The agriculture industry has condemned mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest for privately lobbying the government to phase out the multi-billion dollar diesel fuel subsidy, and divert the funds into green hydrogen projects.”

“We’re saying that if you don’t use those roads and you’re fuelling up your machinery with diesel, then the excise that would go to building those roads, we are giving you a rebate because you’re not using them. That just makes sense, and it’s about making sure that our mining industry, our agricultural industry is competitive,” deputy leader of the National Party, David Littleproud, said.

Even hospitals that use diesel generators got dragged into the debate to support the billions paid to the big miners.

Peter Ker reports, “Confusion reigns over Fortescue Metals Group’s stance on the diesel fuel rebate, with the iron ore miner declining to clarify whether it will voluntarily withdraw from the scheme or whether it thinks the federal government should axe it altogether.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison signalled on November 9 that he believed the rebate should remain. 

As usual, politicians and industries tied to fossil fuels have missed the point. This move is designed to enable the transition from diesel power to green hydrogen, something Twiggy is already doing. The aim is to use the same money for something climate friendly.

 
 
 
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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

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