The ACF said an online survey of 1008 people conducted last week found 77% supported the removal of the rebate in next month’s federal budget.
More than 90% of respondents said the $A2 billion given to the mining industry as part of the rebate each year would be better spent on health and education.
“The fuel tax credit scheme handout to the mining industry costs Australian taxpayers $2 billion a year,” ACF chief executive officer Don Henry said.
“While the rest of us pay 38c a litre in taxes at the bowser, these companies are mining the public purse and in the process they are making climate change worse.”
Henry said the rebate to mining companies was more than double the federal budget allocation for environmental protection and more than six times the funding for national parks.
“We need to stop putting taxpayers’ money into pollution promotion and start investing in clean energy, like wind and solar, in cleaner fuels and cleaner transport and in shoring up our natural environment against the threats it faces,” he said.
However, less than half of the diesel fuel rebate goes to mining companies – though the ACF is only against the rebate for mining companies.
New Greens leader Christine Milne today told ABC radio her party wanted to see the rebate for miners scrapped in the May 8 budget.
Industry groups and miners have come out against the plans to scrap the rebate, with the industry already subject to the Minerals Resource Rent Tax and carbon tax starting from July 1.
Yesterday, OZ Minerals CEO Terry Burgess said the removal of the rebate was estimated to hit the company’s bottom line by around $16-20 million per annum.
“That would be, to me, another tax on the company,” he told reporters.
“It really is something that’s important to primary industry,” Burgess said.
He said the rebate should compensate for the installation of infrastructure, such as roads, rail and airstrips.
Meanwhile, Fortescue Metals Group chief financial officer Stephen Pearce expects the removal of the rebate to cost the company $140-150 million based on the company’s current fuel usage of 350 million litres.
This article first appeared in ILN's sister publication MiningNews.net.