Petroleum industry tax incentives and energy policy implications: a comparison between Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea

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Tax incentives are preferential tax treatments provided to selected groups of taxpayers and usually result in those taxpayers paying less tax or paying later than they otherwise would.
Tax incentives for the petroleum sector are questioned to ascertain whether they are economically beneficial for four selected jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Within this enquiry, a further minor research question considers the competing aims inherent in any energy policy of economics, politics and the environment. The research intent is to provide energy policy implications of proposed changes to tax incentives. A qualitative research approach is used with analysis through the energy justice principles of availability, affordability, due process, transparency and accountability, sustainability, responsibility and intra- and inter-generational equity. Case studies on tax incentives from the selected jurisdictions are compared for trends and to determine any nexus with levels of foreign direct investment in resource exploration and development. The article seeks documentary evidence that summarizes and quantifies the value of tax incentives (known in the tax field as tax expenditures). Findings reveal that best practice is that of lower levels of legislated and discretionary tax incentives for the extractive sector. Energy policy-makers should limit tax breaks to rare exceptions in resource-rich countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-222
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • petroleum energy policy
  • fiscal policy
  • Australia
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • energy justice

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