Media release

APPEA and members need to read the room

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility​ (ACCR) is responding to comments made today by APPEA Chair, Woodside CEO and ex-Exxon executive Meg O’Neill on ABC Radio National Breakfast.  

Commenting on Meg O’Neill’s interview, Brynn O’Brien, Executive Director, The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:

“Meg O’Neill has predictably confirmed that the only answer the oil and gas industry has to the energy crunch is to increase supply through fossil fuel expansion. Australian families are struggling with record high energy prices and those companies already war profiteering think it’s ok to push for greater gas dependency.

“As Chair of the oil and gas lobby APPEA, O’Neill is representing both a Woodside and an industry position.

“The government and investors in APPEA member companies need to see this and call this for what it is: self-interested lobbying that is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement’s goals.

“A lot has changed in the decade since the resources industry and their lobbyists campaigned against Kevin Rudd’s government over the mining super profits tax. APPEA is badly misreading the mood of the Australian people, who want prices to come down, and crucially, want action on climate. These things can and must co-exist in all Australian policy settings and the Albanese government has a mandate to deliver on both, not just one.

“Australian and global investors have repeatedly and loudly stated that lobbying for policy that goes against the Paris Agreement's objectives is unacceptable.

“Institutional investors in APPEA’s members, which include major listed companies Woodside, Santos, Origin Energy, Shell and BP, urgently need to make their expectations known.

“APPEA needs to be reined in.

“Another decade of policy gridlock in Australia bowing to the terms and conditions of the oil and gas lobby will hurt investors across their broad portfolios.

“Over the last two decades APPEA has been one of the most damaging forces on Australian democracy. APPEA’s successful lobbying on a range of policy issues is a substantial reason that we now face both of these crises -- energy and climate. Their decades-long lobbying effort has resulted in Australia’s dependency on volatile fossil fuel markets.

“Industry is now explicitly using this severe pricing issue to threaten the government, and to threaten Australian democracy. This is a tactic that has worked for them in the past, and it’s the playbook they feel entitled to use again.”

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