Exposing the Covid-19 commission

From the first days of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that the fossil fuel lobby was running a concerted campaign to exploit the global health crisis to further its agenda.

In March 2020, the Government appointed a so-called ‘Covid Commission’ that was stacked with fossil fuel company executives and gas “kingmakers” whose vision for Australia was for more pipelines and fracking wells.

What soon emerged was a plan by the Covid Commission to use the global pandemic to make the case for public subsidies for the gas industry. Our investigation exposed the vested interests at the heart of the Covid-19 Commission, and called for public money to be spent on a People’s Recovery that put people before gas corporations.

What we uncovered

We found that seven members of the Covid Commission and its “Manufacturing Working Group” had links to the gas industry. 

Concerningly, the chair of the Covid Commission, Nev Power, was also a Director of Strike Energy during his tenure at the Covid Commission. 

A number of the public subsidies and policies that were recommended by the Covid Commission, and then adopted by the Government, had the potential to directly benefit members of the Commission. 

Nev Power’s Strike Energy, for example, has interests in the Perth Basin, which has been prioritised for subsidies and Government support under the Federal Government’s five Strategic Basin plans.

Our investigations resulted in further details being exposed in Senate Estimates hearings, a Crossbench statement, media scrutiny, and Nev Power being forced to step back from his role at Strike Energy. Ultimately this resulted in some Covid Commission members stepping down due to “conflict of interest” concerns.

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