Brickworks

$263,000 of donations to the Liberal Party on the eve of their election in 2013, delivered a private company $14.6m in taxpayer funding from the carbon price grant program, after the Abbott Government had closed down that program.

Brickworks is a brick manufacturer which is an energy-intensive business. They campaigned hard against the carbon price, inviting then-Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, and the media, to regularly use their sites as a backdrop for press conferences and photo opportunities wearing a hard hat and fluro vest.

On 6 August 2013, a month before the 2013 election, a donation of $150,000 was provided to the Federal Liberal Party. This was the largest single donation of a total of $263,000 that was donated by Brickworks to Liberal parties around the country that year.1

Within weeks following the election, one of the first things the Abbott Government did was close down the Clean Technology Innovation Program,2 a co-investment grant program created as part of the carbon price package available to energy intensive industries to invest in capital equipment to improve the energy performance of their operations.

But Brickworks had made an application for funding with the former Gillard Government which established the grant program, and it was still on foot at the time the scheme was closed by Abbott. Despite the scheme being closed down, Brickworks was awarded a $14.6 million grant by the new Liberal Government.3

As government grants consultant, Ben Cusack from Bulletpoint told online publication SmartCompany about the CTIP program: “Most grant programs when they are closed generally do not fund any applications still in the system…this is especially so given that there is no income coming in as a result of the carbon tax.”

Donations from Brickworks:

References

  1. 2013 Brickworks Annual Report, page 9 http://www.brickworks.com.au/IRM/PDF/1267/AnnualReporttoshareholders
  2. http://www.business.gov.au/grants-and-assistance/closed-programs/CleanTechnology/CleanTechnologyInnovation/Pages/default.aspx
  3. http://periodicdisclosures.aec.gov.au/ClientReturns.aspx?SubmissionId=55&ClientId=14772