Greens leader Adam Bandt has said the government must act on big companies for driving up inflation with “corporate profiteering” as he vows to fight “climate bombs”.
Mr Bandt on Sunday claimed companies like the Commonwealth Bank of Australia were reporting record profits on the back of high interest rates while everyday people are suffering.
“It is corporate profiteering that is going a large way to driving inflation,” Mr Bandt told ABC’s Insiders host David Speers.
Inflation is currently sitting at 7.8 per cent – the highest level reached in over three decades.
The Greens leader urged the government to enforce a ceiling on rent and increase taxes on large corporations to ease the cost-of-living crisis for the majority.
“That is something the Government can do something about,” he said.
“There is a lot of hand wringing from the Government … but (by) not pulling any of the levers that they can, they are letting the big corporations continue to drive up inflation through corporate profiteering.”
The government has “the ultimate power” to override the Reserve Bank of Australia to set monetary policy directly and it should consider whether now is the time to use that discretion, Mr Bandt said.
While advocating for a strong stance on corporations, the Greens leader indicated on Insiders that his party was open to softening its position on Labor’s proposed changes to the safeguard mechanism.
The mechanism was imposed to limit greenhouse gas emissions from industry to meet climate targets, which it has failed to do.
The Greens have signalled an intention to support the government’s proposal to make legislative alterations, but with conditions.
“We’ve put in an offer, not an ultimatum,” Mr Bandt said.
“We will put aside our very real concerns … if you do one thing: Stop making the problem worse.
“Stop opening new coal and gas projects because you can’t put the fire out by pouring petrol on it.”
Mr Bandt explained there is no justification for opening new coal and gas operations in Australia that would “wipe away any gains” made in the proposed climate policy.
He said Australia should be the first country to take a stance and ban all new gas and coal projects, which he slammed as “huge climate bombs”.
While the country would likely lose “hundreds of millions of dollars”, the Greens leader said Australians were losing out with large gas corporations who are “serial tax avoiders”.
“27 big gas corporations brought in $77 billion of income in one year and paid no tax on it,” he stated.
There is widespread support for the move, Mr Bandt said, with 57 per cent of Australians indicating their support for binning new fossil fuel operations.
“There is one thing we are asking for: don‘t make the problem worse,” he said.
The government is expected to move to pass the amended safeguard mechanism legislation in the coming weeks.
Originally published as ‘We’ve put in an offer, not an ultimatum’: Greens leader urges government to stop ‘climate bombs’
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