The Australian Conservation Foundation's tricky maths
Reader ICW emails:
If you have the time or the inclination, I think it's worth a post on the "fossil fuel subsidy" canard that green groups regularly peddle, but which rarely gets corrected by the media.There's no point in re-writing points eloquently made by ICW.
The latest example is the ACF's Don Henry claiming that the fossil fuel industry gets $12b of subsidies.
If you click through to the accompanying document, it's clear the ACF's definition of a "subsidy" bears no resemblance to reality.
The biggest item is "Fuel tax rebates" ($4.99b). That's a deduction that any business which uses a vehicle is able to claim for the cost of using that vehicle - just like any other ordinary deductible item. How that constitutes a "subsidy" is beyond me.
The second biggest item is "Lack of indexation on fuel excise" ($3.235b). John Howard stopped indexing the fuel excise after the GST was introduced. Basically, what the ACF is re saying is that because an additional tax isn't levied on a particular class of business or fuel consumer, that's a subsidy to the fossil fuel industry!
The third biggest item is "FBT company car concession" ($1.11b). It's not a concession at all - it's one method of determining how FBT is levied on a company car so that an employer is taxed for a non-cash benefit provided to an employee.
I guess this sort of ignorance and/or deception is to be expected from environmentalists, but what gets my goat is that these claims get reported untested. Yet if the major parties are $1 out in their costings, they'll get hounded for weeks!
Chris Berg from the IPA has recently noted this deception, but it seems some in the media need re-education.