Solar Power Subsidies Pale Beside $4 Billion Mining Support

While some fret and fuss over financial incentives for solar power, a rogue elephant in the room – mining subsidies – have remained comparatively ignored.
   
Like any fledgling energy industry, government cash, rebates and other forms of support going towards solar power helps stimulate uptake which in turn decreases costs. These solar incentives have a very limited lifespan – and they are working; with solar electricity rapidly moving towards grid parity with polluting fossil fuel based power generation. 
 
It won’t be long before solar energy can stand on its own two feet unsubsidised and in some parts of the world, it already is.
 
Other industries appear to be quite happy to ride the subsidy gravy train long after they have become incredibly profitable – the fossil fuel and mining sector are two notable examples.
  
In regard to mining, The Australia Institute recently completed a study that shows the mining industry, which is making record profits, is still receiving substantial assistance from Australian taxpayers – to the tune of over $4 billion per year. 
  
The report, entitled “Pouring Fuel On The Fire” (PDF), states the conservative $4 billion sum includes:
  
– $1.9 billion in fuel subsidies
– $550 million in reduced tax payments for the gas industry’s production of condensate
– $368 million on tax write-offs for capital works
– $330 million on deductions for exploration and prospecting
– $312 million in accelerated depreciation write-offs
  
Added to all this, the mining industry will also receive substantial assistance under the carbon tax; which will commence in July 2012
  
According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quoted in the report, total pre-tax profits raked in by mining firms operating in Australia came to over $51 billion in 2009-10.
  
The report states:
  
“With the mining industry so profitable these subsidies are not supporting the industry, but instead are simply increasing the size of their profits and placing
greater pressure on other industries such as manufacturing, tourism and education.”