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Labor to allow Government's gas-fired rorts scheme

Media Release
Adam Bandt 24 Aug 2021

The Australian Greens have slammed Labor for joining the Liberals in allowing $21 million of public money to be handed to a company deeply connected to Minister Taylor and the Liberals, using public money to fund new gas projects in a time of climate crisis.

At today’s Labor Caucus meeting, the party confirmed it intends to vote with the government on a Greens disallowance motion that would have blocked $50m from being gifted to gas companies headquartered in tax havens that want to kick start a 6% rise in Australia’s pollution.  

The Senate Environment Committee has uncovered compelling evidence of the scheme being rorted to suit Liberal Party donors and billionaire ‘Liberal Life Members’. Previous moves to challenge the gas-fired recovery have succeeded in the Senate with Labor’s support, but Labor’s vote with the government would ensure it is blocked.

Lines from Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt MP:

“Yet again, Labor is siding with the Liberals to support gas and coal, forking over public money to corporate gas donors to fast-track climate collapse” Mr Bandt said.

“There’s 68 years’ worth of Australia’s pollution in the NT gas basins, and the gas needs to stay in the ground. In the middle of a climate crisis, public money should not go to new gas projects. Every time Labor votes with the Liberals, it pushes us closer to the existential brink.

“After Sports Rorts and Car Park grants, it’s shocking that Labor is backing another Liberal party slush fund. Everything about this grant scheme stinks.”

Lines from Australian Greens Leader in the Senate, Senator Larissa Waters:

“Let’s be very clear what’s happened here: in the middle of a climate crisis the Morrison government has gifted $21 million in public money to a major donor's company to frack the Northern Territory. And Labor today has said, 'Yes, we think that's fine.'

“Unlike Sportsrorts and Pork and Ride, the Senate could stop this rort from the start. The disallowance would have terminated a $50 million slush fund for Liberal party mates to cook the planet, put groundwater at risk, and ignore the wishes of First Nations communities. $50 million that could go to health, education, public housing. Labor had the chance to do things differently, and they folded. Again.

“We're disappointed, but we shouldn't be surprised. We know that Labor and the Libs dance to the tune of their massive corporate donors. Today is proof that both parties will sell out the environment, the climate and First Nations people to keep their campaign coffers full.”

Lines from Chair of the Senate Environment Committee, Sarah Hanson-Young:

“The Beetaloo grants program has given millions of dollars of taxpayer money to a bunch of gas cowboys.

“The Department confirmed under evidence there was no proper due-diligence before granting millions of dollars of public money to the Liberal-linked Empire Energy. The $21m cheque was handed over on a ‘first in, first served’ basis. 
“This is another rort with favours for mates, Liberal Party donors, and an alleged insider trader. The only criteria that seems to be applied to approving these grants is being mates with the Liberal Party. 
“The evidence uncovered by the Senate Inquiry shows this fund has already been poorly administered and not only is the taxpayer being rorted, our climate is being ripped off too. 
“The Parliament should not ignore this evidence and should vote to terminate this fund.”

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