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Greens pressure helps deliver much needed inquiry into tax and royalty evasion in fossil fuel Industry

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 30 Nov 2016

Greens Treasury spokesperson welcomes the announcement of a government review into potential rorting of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax and the Commonwealth Royalty regime. Yesterday in Senate question time we asked the Government to consider doing this.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The Government has known about potential rorting by big fossil fuel companies of the PRRT and the oil and gas royalty regimes for years. Everyone should pay their fair share.

“The Greens have been raising questions about the integrity of these schemes in the last parliament and in this one.

“Only yesterday, on the back of the devastating ANAO report, I asked the Government what they were going to do to fix it and all they said was that they agree with the recommendations in the audit.

“It is important that that review covers not just the PRRT, but also excises and all associated royalties. It is understandable ordinary Australians feel they are getting screwed by these wealthy oil and gas giants and we need to make sure we find every loophole and close them.

“The Australia Greens will still be pushing for a standalone Senate Inquiry so that these matters can be aired in public. There have been too many secretive sweetheart deals between the Liberals and corporations lately, especially ones emanating from Western Australia

---ENDS---

NB: Question put to the Government in Senate Question Time yesterday. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Senator WHISH-WILSON (Tasmania) (14:17):

Yesterday the Australian National Audit Office published a bombshell report into the collection of North West Shelf royalty revenue. ANAO found that $5 billion worth of deductions were claimed by oil and gas companies despite many of these deductions not being permitted on the Commonwealth royalty schedule. They also found that it had been 17 years since the department of industry audited the oil and gas companies' procedures for royalty calculations. How many hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue have gone begging because of this basic lack of scrutiny? Will the government be establishing a multidepartment task force into fixing this mess?

Senator CORMANN (Western Australia—Minister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:18):

Strictly speaking, that is actually a question for my good friend and colleague Senator Canavan, who is responsible for royalty arrangements through the resources portfolio. But let me just respond on behalf of the government, in an abundance of helpfulness, as always and as ever, for Senator Whish-Wilson.

The government has welcomed the Australian National Audit Office report. We have accepted all the recommendations. I see Senator Canavan nodding. Of course, we are swiftly implementing all of those recommendations. Indeed, over the last financial year I believe that the department and the Audit Office have worked together to assess how collections in relation to royalty streams have been conducted and all of the royalty revenue has absolutely and fully been received in accordance with the law. Now, obviously, the government is always happy and keen to take on board any suggestions on how arrangements can be improved.

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