Australian news, and some related international items

Covert-19: Government stacks Covid Commission with oil and gas mates

Covert-19: Government stacks Covid Commission with oil and gas mates, cosy deals follow, Michael West Media, by  | May 13, 2020 

The Government is quietly blowing away years of environmental protections under cover of Covid. Its Covid Commission (NCCC) is stacked with executives from the gas and mining lobbies in what is turning out to be a bonanza for multinationals and yet another destructive blow to Australia’s efforts to curb global warming. Sandi Keane investigates.

His declaration in Parliament, “This is coal; don’t be scared”, came back to haunt Prime Minister Scott Morrison when summer’s catastrophic wildfires brought global media attention over his handling of the crisis and Australia’s response to climate change.

Fast forward from bushfires to COVID-19 and his reputation has reversed thanks to the handling of the virus. Yet, while the attention of the nation has been drawn to the daily COVID-19 count and embracing the digital world of schooling, working and socialising from home, the fossil fuel industry – with help from the Morrison Government – has quietly seized the opportunity to entrench its power and profits.

A report from environmental advocacy group 350 Australia has detailed 36 individual policy changes or requests for project-specific support — all under cover of COVID-19.  SEE THE EXCELLENT TABLE ON THE ORIGINAL

The Fossil Fuel Industry’s Wishlist
  • Tax cuts and other financial concessions = 💸
  • Slashing environmental or other corporate regulation = ✄
  • Fast-track project approvals = ✅
  • Delay or rollback of climate and renewables policies = 🔥
  • Attacks on charities and right to protest = 🚫
  • Undermining local communities and workers rights =

The findings are shocking. While we’ve been in a deep funk, as of May 7, 69% of demands from the fossil fuel sector have already been enacted or agreed to by the Government. Concessions and sweetheart deals include 14 requests to slash important environmental or corporate regulations, 11 requests for tax cuts and financial concessions, and 12 instances of requests to fast-track project assessment.

Lucy Manne, CEO of 350 Australia, called it out:

“It is rank opportunism for the fossil fuel lobby to call for slashing of corporate taxes and important environmental protections under the cover of COVID-19.”

Taking a cue from Howard’s love-in with the mining industry when alone among the rest of the developed world, he took key mining lobbyists to Kyoto rather than climate scientists, Morrison awarded key positions in the PM’s office to former mining executives and lobbyists. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the National COVID-19 Co-ordination Committee (NCCC) has been:

COVID-19 National Co-ordination Committee’s links to fossil fuels

The NCCC was set up on March 25 with no terms of reference, no register of conflicts of interest with even less divulged about its financial resources. So let’s look at what 350 Australia has dug up on its links to fossil fuels.

Its six-strong Executive Board of Directors is supported by the Secretaries of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Philip Gaetjens, and Home Affairs Mike Pezzullo. Gaetjens was intimately involved with the controversial community grants pre-Election. NCCC’s role is described as two-fold … “to help minimise and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on jobs and businesses and to facilitate the fastest recovery possible once the virus has passed.”

Here are the key players:………

May 28, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, secrets and lies

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