September 22, 2020

“Like tobacco executives in charge of health policy”: Climate activist group sounds alarm over new energy advisory council

22 September: Climate activist group Australia has sounded the alarm over reports that Angus Taylor and the Morrison Government is planning to hand out more jobs to gas executives, comparing the move to putting tobacco executives in charge of health policy.

News reports today indicate that Angus Taylor will establish a permanent advisory council which includes the chief executive of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, Ben Wilson, and former Origin Energy Managing Director, Grant King. 

Lucy Manne, 350 Australia CEO says: “Putting gas executives in charge of cutting emissions is like appointing the CEO of a cigarette company to design health regulations. This is the continuation of a disturbing trend of the Morrison Government giving jobs to corporate bosses who put profit over public interest.”  

“When the government gets advised by gas executives, they recommend public support for gas projects which have nothing to do with lowering emissions, or lowering gas prices.

“After our devastating summer of bushfires, we desperately need a plan to leave fossil fuels in the ground and tackle the climate crisis while creating millions of sustainable jobs.

“The Technology Roadmap and this new Advisory Council is another example of  the government ignoring the opportunity to back industries of the future that will create more long-term jobs, bring down power prices, and address the huge challenges of climate change and Covid-19 at the same time.”

Today’s move comes after controversy surrounding the Prime Minister’s handpicked National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (now the National COVID-19 Coordination Advisory Board), which had many members with strong links to the gas industry and then recommended Federal subsidies and other interventionist policies to support the industry.

“The Government’s Covid-19 Commission was stacked with oil and gas executives, and now the Energy Minister is following suit. This shows us just how much power the fossil fuel lobby has over this government.

“This looks like  another handpicked body with no accountability, no transparency and conflicts of interest,advising our government on the critical issue of lowering emissions. How many more jobs will they hand out to their gas industry mates?

“These conflicts of interest will lock the government into dirty, expensive technology that will increase our emissions and lead to runaway climate change,” said Ms Manne.