15 Apr 2016


More Australians support ending fossil fuel subsidies to raise revenue in this year’s federal budget than any other measure, according to a new poll released today (Friday).

A national poll of 2,664 Australians conducted by ReachTEL on Monday night (11 April) found that the majority of Australians want the funds spent on health (27.5% of respondents) and growing renewable energy (26.3%), instead of propping up polluting industries.

The Government currently spends over $7.7 billion annually on subsidies to support fossil fuel production and consumption, which leads to an increase in carbon pollution. 

The poll found that 58.9% of respondents (excluding undecided) think the Government spends too much on fossil fuel subsidies.

Respondents were most strongly opposed to subsidising the production costs of oil and gas companies (net* 71.9%), fuel costs of mining companies (net 69.75%), and opposed (net 53.76%) to subsidising fuel cost of airlines.

There was strong support however for providing fuel subsidies to farmers (net 90.68%), showing that Australians differentiate between budget priorities.

With the Federal Budget looming in early May, the poll clearly shows that Australians believe the Government should act to cut fossil fuel subsidies.

Ending fossil fuels subsidies was ranked first (36.4%) as the preferred revenue raising measure ahead of reducing negative gearing benefits (19.3%), raising the GST (17.8%), increasing tax on capital gains (14.1%), and tightening tax concessions on superannuation (12.3%).

When given seven options on where money raised from ending fossil fuel subsidies should be spent, health ranked first (27.5%), followed closely by growing renewable energy (26.3%), then education (15.1%), and budget repair (13.5%).

The poll was commissioned by WWF-Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation, GetUp! and 350.org.

The groups today called on the Australian Government to:

  • End non-agricultural fuel tax credits, boosting the budget by $5.5 billion in 2016-17;
  • End exploration and prospecting deductions for the mining industry ($650m);
  • End statutory effective life caps for the oil and gas sector ($349m); and
  • End the concessional rate of excise levied on aviation gasoline and aviation turbine fuel ($1.24bn).

WWF-Australia’s National Manager for Climate Change, Kellie Caught said: “We have a budget crisis and a global warming crisis but none of the major parties have put the obvious solution on the table."

"The poll clearly shows our political leaders are out of step with common sense view of Australians, who don’t want their tax payers dollars being spent propping up fossil fuels and would rather see it spent on growing clean renewable energy and health."

"Burning fossil fuels is the biggest cause of global warming responsible for the underwater heatwave currently devastating our Great Barrier Reef. Ending fossil fuel subsidies is good for the budget and for the environment."

WWF-Australia Media Contact: Daniel Rockett, National Media Manager, 0432 206 592, drockett@wwf.org.au

* Net is those respondents who had an opinion, excluding undecided