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Labor not giving ‘sweetheart deals’ to energy giants

Labor has rejected a claim that it has cut a special deal with an energy giant to exempt it from paying additional taxes under a proposal change.

Labor has rejected a claim that it has cut a special deal with an energy giant to exempt it from paying additional taxes under a proposal change. Photo: AAP

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has rejected claims her government is cutting a “sweetheart deal” for Woodside in proposed tax changes.

Greens leader Adam Bandt accused Labor of giving “sweetheart deals” over exemptions applying to Woodside’s North West Shelf gas project in Western Australia.

“It’s the sort of thing that you’d expect from Adam Bandt,” Ms Plibersek told ABC radio on Wednesday.

“We’re working really hard in Australia to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Asked why the energy giant would not have to pay additional taxes under changes to the petroleum resource rent tax, Ms Plibersek deflected the question.

“If you want to talk about specific decisions made in the budget about the tax regime, you might want to get the Treasurer on the program,” she said.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced before handing down the May budget that he would raise the tax by $2.4 billion over the next four years.

It comes as fossil-fuel companies are being shown the red card on their sponsorships of sporting and arts events as officials face pressure to ditch the lucrative deals under a voluntary code.

Leading environmental advocacy group the Climate Council will launch the code for sports clubs and arts institutions in response to pressure from athletes, artists, fans and punters for action to protect the planet.

The council said flooded festivals, cancelled concerts due to bushfire risk, and unsafe heat disrupting play at the tennis and footy spotlighted the impact of climate change on activities and events Aussies loved.

The code will be revealed alongside a report that criticises gas companies such as Woodside, Santos, Chevron and Tamboran Resources for “piggy-backing” on iconic pastimes to divert attention from environmental destruction.

In its report, conducted in collaboration with researchers from Edith Cowan University, the council compares the conversation about fossil-fuel sponsorships in sports to that of tobacco in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Federal parliament ultimately passed laws that put an end to most forms of tobacco advertising, including sponsorship, because of the public health impacts of smoking.

The council’s proposed code includes a pledge for organisations to cease current contracts with fossil-fuel companies at the end of their term and to not enter into new arrangements in future.

It also referenced polling conducted by the Australia Institute in October 2022, which found 53 per cent of Australians believed fossil-fuel companies should be banned from sponsoring national sporting teams.

Report co-author Ashlee Morgan said climate change was reshaping the Aussie way of life, and sports, arts and events organisers should seize the opportunity to lead by example.

Former Socceroos captain and human rights advocate Craig Foster, as well as pro long-boarder Tully White, will help launch the code alongside climate experts and academics.

– AAP

Topics: Adam Bandt
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