Don’t Let Chevron Force Taxpayers to Clean up Oil Spills

Target: Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia

Goal: Force Chevron to clean up its own oil spills and not bill the taxpayer.

If you love cleaning up other peoples’ messes, then you’re sure going to love this story. It turns out, if Chevron makes a mistake, it doesn’t have to deal with the full costs, because taxpayer will be pitching in! That’s according to a report from The Guardian, which revealed Chevron executives have confirmed that if there’s an oil spill in the Great Australian Bight, it’ll be Australian taxpayers that foot the bill.

The revelation was made public during a recent Senate hearing on tax avoidance. During the hearing, Chevron executives reportedly confirmed that under the terms of Australia’s petroleum resource rent tax, the costs of spill cleanup are, in fact, tax deductible.

That’s right, if a company devastates Australia’s environment, destroys South Australia’s fishing industry, kills countless animals and leaves coastal communities with decades of health issues in the event of a major oil spill, then the company can walk away from the mess without having to clean it up. Instead, it’ll be those same communities, along with taxpayers nationwide, who get footed with the bill.

It’s all thanks to the magic of accounting. In the event of such an oil spill, Chevron would be allowed to hold over the costs of cleanup into future years, while also claiming it against other projects. This apparently only applies during the exploration phase, during which any spills would be technically classified as “exploration expenditure,” according to treasury officials cited by The Guardian.

In other words, to Chevron, the cost of a devastating oil spill would be nothing more than a minor operational cost – a cost that they can heap on the shoulders of taxpayers. If you believe companies should be held responsible for their actions, then please sign this petition urging Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull to endorse reform that would force Chevron and other oil firms to clean up their own oil spills.


Dear Prime Minister Turnbull,

Most Australians believe that if you make a mess, you’d better clean it up. Apparently though, that doesn’t apply to Chevron, a company that’s free to walk away from oil spills and leave Australian taxpayers with the bill. In a recent Senate hearing, company executives confirmed that if there’s a spill during their exploration of the Great Australian Bight, cleanup costs would be tax deductible.

Most people can’t get away with making a mess and forcing someone else clean it up. However, Chevron and other big oil companies get to play by their own set of rules. Apparently, if they destroy one of Australia’s most precious marine areas, they can just walk away. If South Australia’s fishing industry is destroyed by an oil spill, that’s no skin off Chevron’s nose. If coastal communities along the bight are devastated, and left with long term health problems by a major spill; then that’s simply not Chevron’s problem.

This is unacceptable. Ordinary Australians believe in taking responsibility for one’s actions. It’s just common sense. Why then, does one of the world’s most profitable companies not have to take responsibility for its actions?

Most Australians are already struggling under the rising cost of living, and simply can’t afford to be paying to clean up Chevron’s messes. We therefore demand you endorse reform that would require Chevron – or any other petroleum firm – to pay 100 percent of the clean up costs of any oil spills. It’s only fair.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: ORR

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  1. Kathryn Irby says:

    Taxpayers should NEVER have to pay for Chevron’s Blatant Incompetency!!! Unacceptable!!!

  2. It’s your mess, you clean it up!

  3. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    nobody should clean it up except you must clean it up!

  4. Why is the government kowtowing to Chevron like this? Are they being bribed or what?
    Chevron, as well as every other corporation on earth, should be held FULLY ACCOUNTABLE for all damage it causes. To force Australian citizens to pay for their clean-up costs is appalling.


  6. To the author Ryan, what a load of shit you are feeding everyone. Making them interpret something that is applicable to pretty much every business in Australia, whether a restaurant spilled cleaning chemicals on the street and had to pay to clean it up, a factory contaminates waterways or produces air pollution and pays for cleanups or technology to reduce emissions or the rehabilitation of land back to it’s natural state after it has been mined on.
    All these things are the same scenario when you are reasoning what the cost is for.
    Secondly, it’s nothing like they walk away and leave it in the hands of Australian taxpayers like you say. They still pay for the cleanup and then when they make a profit equivelent to their cleanup amount, they don’t pay tax on that profit, because of the expense they have incurred. It just means they are paying less tax than they otherwise would have if they had never had the spill – but.. They still incurred that hefty cleanup bill.
    Think of it this way, if there was many more hoops for chevron or other similar companies to jump through and the end result wouldn’t be so profitable for them, then they wouldn’t bother investing in Australia. The jobs would never be created in the manufacturing and oil and gas, those people, suppliers and contractors wouldn’t otherwise be paying income tax and payroll tax to our government, stimulating our economy and paying the wages that put meals on families’ dinner tables.
    Maybe they shouldn’t invest here at all, is that what you’re saying?
    What fucking narrow minded people comment on shit and take a side without asking a few more questions to find detail.

    Thirdly, you’re making it sound like they’ve already got a spill out there now in Australia. Now I’m no expert on this but a quick google search showed a recent article which said Chevron have drilled 80 deep water wells in Australia without a single loss of control incident.

    These companies obviously don’t want to have oil spills, and do whatever they can to avoid it, because it eats into not just their profit, but their reputation which affects future projects going ahead.

  7. Wendy Morrison says:

    Whomever CAUSES the oil spills should be the ones to clean them up NOT THE TAXPAYERS!!!!

  8. Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & Shared❗️?

  9. Stop making taxpayers victims of corporate crimes!

  10. CHEVRON — you surely have the wherewithal to clean up your mess — do NOT always use the Govt. as your personal bank — we need govt money for many pertinent matters, such as protecting our wild horses & burros, protecting our wildlife, protecting our natural environment, etc. — WHO’s to pay for this, if not the Govt.

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