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Cost of halting new coal, gas projects in Australia plummets by 80%

Amidthe fossil fuel industry slump, the price tag on halting all new coal and gas projectsin Australia has fallen by 80% compared to estimates 2.5 years ago, The Guardian of Australia reported April4, citing official parliamentary costings.

Backin 2013, the parliamentary budget office estimated that should the Greens policyof banning new coal and gas projects be enforced in Australia, the government wouldmiss out on A$1.5 billion over the forward estimates or the four years to July 2017.

Recentlywhen the Greens asked for the forward estimates, or the four years to July 2019,should the same ban be enforced, the budget office found that the figure had droppedto only A$290 million. Of the A$1.2 billion of expected revenue that was lost, thevast majority was due to fewer and less profitable projects, the reports said.

Due tothe economic climate when it comes to fossil fuels, the number of projects expectedto be developed has plummeted in comparison to 2013 levels.

"Asthe world transitions to clean energy, the taxes collected by the federal governmentfrom the fossil fuel sector are rapidly diminishing," Greens senator and environmentspokeswoman, Larissa Waters told The Guardianof Australia. "Ultimately, the fossil fuel sector is a burden on our federalbudget due to the subsidies it receives and the economic costs it adds through globalwarming and destruction of land and water."

She alsosaid citizens affected by the industry decline should not be left in the lurch andthat jobs should come from the rehabilitation of mine sites and the new clean energyindustry, The Guardian reported.

MineralsCouncil of Australia Executive Director of Coal Greg Evans pointed out that between2007-2008 and 2013-2014, the coal industry has contributed over A$37 billion inboth company tax and royalty payments, the report noted. "It is an enduringindustry and confining any analysis to just the forward estimates period missesthe mark about the positive long-term demand outlook," he said.

As of April 5, US$1 was equivalentto A$1.33.