Albo’s deal to save election promise

4 minutes, 19 seconds Read

A deal to save one of Anthony Albanese’s key election promises has been struck, paving the way for the government’s signature climate policy to become law.

After threatening for weeks to vote against Labor’s plans to strengthen the safeguard mechanism, the Greens on Monday agreed to pass the Bill in return for 13 amendments – including a hard cap on coal and gas emissions.

The deal stops short of the minor party’s push for the end of all new coal and gas projects.

Labor’s safeguard mechanism upgrade seeks to ensure the country’s 215 biggest polluters are reducing their emissions each year – or buy carbon credits if they fail to do so.

The deal was struck on Monday morning. Picture NCA NewsWire / Aaron FrancisThe deal was struck on Monday morning. Picture NCA NewsWire / Aaron Francis

It’s a key component of Labor’s plan to reduce emissions by 43 per cent by 2030.

The Greens say the amendments they have secured will ensure at least half of the 116 fossil fuel projects in the pipeline won’t go ahead.

Leader Adam Bandt said the deal struck was a “big hit” on coal and gas but questioned why Labor had been so difficult on the matter.

“It’s crystal clear Labor wants to keep opening up new coal and gas mines. Now there is going to be a fight for every new project they want to open,” Mr Bandt said.

“They have the power to stop – if any new project opens from here on in it will be squarely on Labor’s shoulders.”

In addition to the hard cap, the Greens have secured a pollution trigger, that would require the Climate Change Minister to test a new or expanded project’s impact on the hard cap and net carbon budgets.

Mr Bandt also said the amendments “derailed” the Beetaloo and Barossa gas projects, after securing all scope 1 emissions from Beetaloo would need to be net zero.

Mr Bandt said that would be a “significant financial barrier” to the future of the project.

All new gas fields for LNG exports will need to be net-zero “from day one”.

Mr Albanese said after a ‘wasted decade’, today was a great day. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary RamageMr Albanese said after a ‘wasted decade’, today was a great day. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Mr Albanese said after a “wasted decade” under the Coalition, today was “a great day” for the environment, for jobs, and for manufacturing.

“The Safeguard Mechanism is the vehicle to achieve our commitment for 43 per cent (emissions) reduction by 2030. This is a precondition for our engagement in the region and the world,” he told reporters.

“We need to act on climate change. We can’t afford to engage in conflict in order to try and get the perfect outcome.”

Mr Albanese thanked the Greens for being constructive, as both he and Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen reiterated the role gas has to play in the transition to a net-zero economy.

“We always said we’d be happy to engage with the crossbench on suggestions and amendments which were, one, in keeping with our election mandate and two, keeping with our policy agenda,” Mr Bowen said.

Mr Bandt and Mr Bowen sought to alleviate concerns that the hard cap on gas emissions could drive gas prices up further, or risk a shortfall.

“The gas market, as has been outlined by the statement of gas opportunities recently, we recognise that,” Mr Bowen said, making reference to the risk that there could be gas shortfalls if there is not greater production for domestic use.”

“That’s why we resisted and rejected calls to ban new gas. This is international best practice, it’s quite appropriate.”

The Greens secured 13 amendments to the Bill. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary RamageThe Greens secured 13 amendments to the Bill. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Just moments after the Prime Minister concluded his press conference, the government fast-tracked the legislation through the lower house to allow the Senate to vote on the Bill before it rises on Thursday.

Maverick independent MP Bob Katter, who opposed the Bill, launched a colourful tirade against the proposal prior to the final vote.

“It’s alright for everybody in here and their $250,000 a year … there’s some 200,000 jobs in coal mining in Australia and I would sure like for some of our so-called trade union leaders in Australia to stand up,” he yelled

“I seem to be one of the few standing up.

“More than 200,000 Australians are dependent on this industry and you’re just sacking them.”

Meanwhile, Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie said the passage of the Bill marked the “first reform to genuinely cut pollution in a decade”.

“Today’s agreement is a massive wake up call to any board or business executive who thinks they can keep stalling genuine climate action,” she said.

“The era of climate gridlock in Australia is over and the only viable path for any business is genuine, deep cuts to carbon pollution this decade.”

Read related topics:Anthony Albanese

Similar Posts