Greens Leader Adam Bandt speaking at the National Press Club today, confirmed that following negotiations with the Labor government which led to improvements to the climate bill and a commitment to pursuing other matters further, the Greens would support its passage through the Parliament.
Mr Bandt confirmed the focus would now shift to stopping new coal, oil and gas projects which would blow the government’s weak climate targets.
The Greens will push for new coal and gas to be addressed in the government’s reform of the Safeguard Mechanism and for a climate trigger in national environment laws.
Speaking at the National Press Club Mr Bandt said:
The fight against new coal and gas:
“The Greens have improved a weak climate bill and we will pass it, but the fight to stop Labor’s new coal and gas mines continues, and in this Parliament, the only obstacle to stronger climate action is Labor.
The fight begins now to get Labor to stop opening coal and gas mines.
In this Parliament where less than a third of the country voted Labor, Labor has some mandate and the Greens have some mandate, but more important is our mandate from the planet and the laws of physics. If Labor continues to open up new coal and gas, the planet will burn and that is the mandate we all need to listen to. That is why we are bitterly disappointed that Labor has made it so clear over the last few weeks that they want to continue to open new coal and gas projects.
People need to be clear eyed about the importance of this bill, and that this government is bringing a bucket of water to a house fire. Worse, even this smallest of steps along the road to tackling the climate emergency could be wiped out by just one of the 114 new coal and gas projects in the government’s investment pipeline.”
Changes to the Bill:
“While the government has been unwilling to adopt science-based targets and place a moratorium on new coal and gas, we have been able to secure improvements to the bill, ensuring the target can be ratcheted up over time and that it is now Dutton-proofed with a genuine floor which means the target can not go backwards.
Changes have also been made to put in place greater transparency, accountability and strengthened requirements on the Climate Change Authority.
Government agencies, such as Export Finance Australia, that in the past have funded coal and gas projects, will for the first time be forced to take climate targets into account, which should see them curbed from supporting fossil fuels. They join a range of other agencies with new limits, including Infrastructure Australia and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund.”
Next steps in the fight:
“The Senate inquiry will be critical, as we expect the Senate inquiry will show that the government cannot meet the targets in this legislation if it opens new coal and gas projects, and that a change will be required to the government’s approach.
The Greens in balance of power in the Senate here will be crucial, as the safeguard mechanism can be disallowed.
Coming out of the negotiations, I can also announce that because the safeguard mechanism will deal with the question of new coal and gas projects, the government will have further discussions with the Greens as it designs this mechanism.
Further, the government will also consider Greens proposals to support coal and gas workers and communities, including the establishment of a transition authority. This was a crucial part of our election campaign and this has to be the Parliament that provides job and wage security to coal and gas workers as we do our part to tackle the climate challenge.
We will comb the entire budget for any public money, any subsidies, handouts or concessions going to fossil fuel corporations, and we will amend the Budget to remove them.
We will push to ensure the safeguard mechanism safeguards our future by stopping new coal and gas projects.
We will push for a climate trigger in our environmental laws.
And we will continue to fight individual projects around the country, like Beetaloo, Scarborough and Barossa.
And I call on all Australians to join this battle. This battle to save our country, communities and indeed our whole civilisation from the climate and environmental crisis.”