The government must release documents relating to the awarding of a $21 million grant to Liberal Party-aligned fracking company Empire Energy, after the Senate this afternoon supported a Greens’ motion.
The order compels the government to produce by 9.30 am on Thursday, 12 August, all correspondence, lists of applicants and grant guidelines related to its Beetaloo Basin grant scheme, in addition to details of any meetings between Ministers Angus Taylor or Keith Pitt and Empire Energy.
Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on resources Senator Larissa Waters said:
“The Morrison government has handed over $21 million of public money to Empire Energy - a company whose chairman is a huge Liberal donor - to open up a massive climate bomb in the Northern Territory's Beetaloo Basin.
“Last week, the Greens’ Senate inquiry into the government’s $50 million Beetaloo slush fund, from which this grant came, heard evidence that Empire Energy met with Energy Minister Angus Taylor in the months before the grants program was announced.
“The Department confirmed that the grants were issued not on merits, but on a ‘first come, first served’ basis… and Empire Energy just happened to be the first to apply!
“This government has serious questions to answer about its relationship to Empire Energy and its chairman Paul Espie, and why it’s throwing public money at its donor mates and thumbing its nose at Traditional Owners and future generations.
“Opening up a massive gas operation in the Northern Territory, when the IPCC has in the past 24 hours confirmed the sheer folly of continuing to burn fossil fuels, is condemning Australia and the world to irreversible climate catastrophe.
“The Greens won’t let them get away with it.”