Safeguard Mechanism Approaches Parliamentary Approval

Dept of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water

Today, Australia is one step closer to achieving net zero by 2050, with confirmation the Albanese Government has secured additional Parliamentary support for the Safeguard Mechanism reforms.

These landmark reforms will reduce 205 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions to 2030 – equivalent to taking two-thirds of the nation’s cars off the road over the same period.

These are overdue, sensible reforms which ensure Australia’s largest emitters are competitive in a decarbonising global economy and make a fair contribution towards the nation’s emissions reductions task.

They complement the over $24 billion investment the Albanese Labor Government is already making in cleaner, cheaper energy, and emissions reduction.

The Safeguard Mechanism was put in place by the previous Coalition Government. It requires facilities that produce over 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually (around 215 facilities) to keep their net emissions below a baseline (or ceiling). However, under the former Government’s settings, scheme emissions actually increased by four per cent.

Extensive industry and public consultation and constructive discussions with the Australian Greens and crossbench have delivered a strengthened design that bolsters the scheme for the economy and the climate.

The changes to the scheme are in keeping with the policy’s intent – ensuring that both flexibility and support are provided for industry to remain competitive, and that the scheme delivers accountability, transparency and integrity.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, said the finalisation of the Safeguard Mechanism Bill was a key milestone in achieving Australia’s 43% emissions reduction target by 2030.

“Today, we are a step closer to achieving net zero by 2050,” Minister Bowen said.

“We thank those across the Parliament who continue to approach this legislation in a constructive way to ensure accountability, transparency and integrity for the scheme, and ensure flexibility and support for industry. We will continue to work with people of good faith across the Parliament to secure passage.

“These reforms are the culmination of months of extensive feedback from Safeguard businesses, industry associations, climate and community groups, academics and private individuals.

“Business and climate groups have been clear that the Parliament should pass the strengthened legislation in front of it and deliver overdue policy certainty – but Peter Dutton would prefer to drag Australia backwards and continue the climate wars.

“These reforms are crucial to our climate and our economy – supporting Australian industry and ensuring they will continue to be competitive in a decarbonising world.”

These changes build on previously confirmed design features of the Safeguard Mechanism – including the creation of Safeguard Mechanism Credits which will enable large industrial facilities to earn credits when they reduce their emissions below their baselines.

The Government will finalise detailed Safeguard Rules next month. The updated Safeguard Mechanism scheme will be in operation as of 1 July 2023.

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