(Greens-Media) Greens Call for Inquiry into Howard's subsidy for Shale Oil Subsidy

Submitted by Editor on Tue, 05/10/2004 - 01:03

Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland Drew Hutton today committed his party to supporting a Senate inquiry into allegations the Howard Government offered a multi-million dollar subsidy to shale oil company Southern Pacific Petroleum (SPP) on the condition that SPP take legal action against Greenpeace.

Drew Hutton

October 4, 2004

This was contained in a Department of Industry, Tourism & Resources (DITR) email recently obtained by Greenpeace under FOI.

The email stated: "the Government's decision to put this arrangement in place was made subject to SPP taking legal action against Greenpeace".

It refers to a decision by Federal Cabinet in 2002 to provide SPP with a sales grant for exports worth nearly A$55 per barrel of shale oil or up to $36.4 million per annum. This supplemented an existing subsidy of equal value available to SPP for domestic sales only.

This was a Cabinet decision and no relevant Government department was consulted about it.

Mr Hutton said he would gladly support a Senate inquiry into this issue and called on the Federal government to release all documents relating to it.

"The fact that SPP, for reasons of its own, decided not to go ahead with litigating against Greenpeace does not distract from the point that, on the face of it, the Howard government has placed a totally improper condition on the granting of a subsidy, Mr Hutton said."

"It backs up everything we have said about the dishonesty and bloody-mindedness of this government."

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