Greens leader Adam Bandt has vowed to go harder in his fight against fossil fuels after securing amendments to the safeguard mechanism.
Mr Bandt addressed an online “town hall” forum on Tuesday night where he declared the minor party would use its balance of power position in the Senate to force Labor back to the negotiating table on future environmental legislation.
He also repeated his claim the Greens’ changes to Labor’s key climate policy would stop half of the 116 new fossil fuel developments in the pipeline across the country.
The government and industry have rejected the Greens’ claim the deal it struck with Labor to place a hard cap on emissions in exchange for supporting the government’s proposal to strengthen the safeguard mechanism would stop many of the coal and gas projects from going ahead.
Adam Bandt speaking during the Greens’ Safeguard Town Hall. Credit: NCA NewsWire
But Mr Bandt told supporters who tuned into the virtual meeting the minor party had managed to “deliver a huge blow” to fossil fuels and declared he would keep pressuring the Albanese government on the issue.
“We’ve now got a fight on our hands,” Mr Bandt said.
“And what we’re going to do is fight them in the parliament and push to keep changing the laws to stop Labor opening any of the new coal and gas projects because that is what the science requires.”
Buoyed by his success in getting Labor to compromise on the safeguard mechanism, Mr Bandt outlined his priorities for this year in parliament on Tuesday night.
He said the Greens would fight against any fossil fuel subsidies included in the May federal budget and renew pressure on the government to install a “climate trigger” as part of its sweeping reforms planned for federal environmental law.
The government could face a challenge in getting its proposed changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act through parliament without the trigger, which would require the minister to consider the effect of major developments on climate change.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is expected to have to negotiate with the Greens on future climate legislation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Labor had to negotiate with the – which has a mandate to stop opening any new coal and gas projects – and the crossbench on its safeguard mechanism upgrade because it didn’t have the support of the Coalition.
Under Labor’s proposed upgrade to the Coalition-era cap and trade scheme, Australia’s 215 biggest polluters would be required to reduce their emissions by 4.9 per cent every year, including through the purchase of carbon offsets if required.
The amendments secured by the Greens in exchange for their support mean heavy emitters will need to ensure their gross emissions fall over time and any new projects covered by the scheme will need to comply with international best standards.
The safeguard mechanism upgrade is expected to pass parliament this week, with debate on the legislation expected to run until 12am on Wednesday in the upper house as Coalition senators voice their opposition.
Read related topics:Anthony Albanese