Wednesday, 15 July 2015
I Dare Not Speak Its Name
There was a time when I used to comment on Sinclair Davidson's Catallaxy blog.
It is a refuge for a weird bunch. Regular contributors include bitter ex-service personnel who never left Australia, raving imperialists, absolute nutters, and the occasional psychopath, but it was always excellent entertainment.
Then I was banned.
The reason for this was my mention of the fact that mining companies receive a rebate on diesel fuel costs, which amounts to a fair old whack (it will amount to $14 billion in the next four years). This was in the context of complaints about the taxpayer subsidising alternative energy investment through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
This issue is being kicked around again. Metronome Tone has thrown a tanty because he has been unable to shut down said CEFC. The senate won't let him.
The point is, the extent of subsidies to the mining industry to those with a finger in the pie like Davidson is censored information. You dare not speak its name. There are too many irons in the fire - too much vested interest. The truth spoils the narrative.
The report of the Australia Institute is lengthy, but this extract from the introduction gives you an idea of the extent of the taxpayer support for these profitable enterprises -
This paper is the first attempt to put a dollar figure on the value of state assistance to the mining industry. It shows that over a six-year period, state governments in Australia spent $17.6 billion supporting the mineral and fossil fuel industries. Queensland’s assistance was by far the largest of all states, totalling $9.5 billion, followed by Western Australia’s at $6.2 billion.
State government assistance to the mineral and fossil fuel industries appears substantial even when compared to big budget items, such as health, education and law and order. For example, Queensland’s expenditure on these industries in 2013-14 is similar to the amount to be spent on disability services and capital expenditure on hospitals. Queensland will spend as much on supporting the mining industry as it does on supporting some of its most vulnerable citizens. Similarly, industry assistance in Western Australia is substantial when compared to police and health, and in New South Wales, it is comparable to other important budget items such as managing the state’s national parks and providing accommodation for those with disabilities.
If you are interested in the history and quantum of these subsidies, read this.
You'll need to put some time aside. It's 70 pages long.
The amount of these subsidies is eye-watering.
But, whatever you do, don't speak or write about it in public.
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