It certainly sounds like criminal activity perpetrated against the Australian taxpayer. From The Australian:
“Annastacia Palaszczuk says the federal and state governments knew taxpayers could be slugged up to $450m to compensate mining giant Rio Tinto when the national energy plan was rushed through parliament this month.
Asked if her government was aware the payout could hit $450m before agreeing to implement the cap, Ms Palaszczuk said: ‘Yes, we did know.’
‘All of that was worked out when we reached the agreement we reached,’ she said in reference to national cabinet negotiations.
Ms Palaszczuk’s confirmation contradicted Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s claim that compensation for Rio and its partners would be ‘nothing like’ $450m.”
And against a sitting Senator, whose vote was crucial to getting the legislation passed:
“Senator Pocock told The Australian he was not informed the compensation deal could reach $450m before he agreed to support the government’s legislation at an urgent parliamentary sitting this month.
‘The briefings and information I received suggested that any compensation under this plan to bring much-needed energy price relief for households and small businesses would be minimal and confined to a small number of generators’.”
The economics of the Australian government’s energy market intervention bill were awful and will cause unintended consequences for years to come (see my prior posts here and here). Now we find out it’s going to cost an extra half a billion dollars up-front, and they willfully lied to rush it through Parliament. What a disaster.