Right now, the federal government spends around $10 billion a year as handouts – in the form of subsidies, cash, tax breaks and infrastructure - to big polluters.1
These handouts make fossil fuels (like coal, gas and petroleum) artificially cheap. So companies use more fossil fuels than they would with a level playing field – creating more pollution, blocking clean energy projects and fuelling the threat of climate change to all Australians.
The original argument, in the Howard years, for exempting off-road diesel users from a fuel excise is that the tax at the bowser would fund roads. In reality, only a small percentage does. But it's had the perverse effect of knee-capping the renewable energy sector, and big coal and gas would like to keep it this way.