Australians Call For Strengthening Petroleum Resource Rent Tax

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The latest Climate of the Nation survey, managed by the Australia Institute, uncovered that 61% of 2,691 respondents would support the government should they decide to levy a windfall tax on petroleum companies.

The Albanese government was led to this decision following the result of its request to watchdog The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to review the code of conduct of the gas industry.

With the government working to deliver energy price relief to households and businesses, the ACCC investigated the voluntary code of conduct covering the supply agreements between gas producers and their customers, ensuring reasonable pricing and improving transparency. The government is also looking to make the code mandatory to govern the current market behaviour.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers notes, “we are considering all the available options before us to help shield Australians from the worst of these price impacts, including options that may not have seemed palatable even in the recent past.”

The Treasury’s work to change the petroleum resource rent tax (PRRT) is expected to collect more revenue from multinational gas giants. Gas companies are forecasted to pay around $2.6 billion via the PRRT this year, $200 million more than expected.

Chalmers notes that the PRRT is expected to generate another $2.45 billion in the 2023-2024 fiscal year, stating “it was part of a broader substantial improvement in revenues in the next year.” The Treasurer also may impose price controls, acknowledging the survey’s result showing the “appetite in the Australian community”.

Katharine Murphy, Political Editor for The Guardian, reports that “the new poll shows that in addition to a windfall tax, 62% of respondents would support a levy on fossil fuel producers to fund adaptation initiatives needed to avert global heating. A significant majority of respondents (80%) also want routine environmental assessments strengthened, so the climate impact of new fossil fuel developments would be considered in the regulatory process.”

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