A Shorten Labor Government will work with Australia’s biggest industrial polluters to help them cut their pollution, grow their business and create a cleaner future for the next generation.
Ignoring climate change isn’t the answer.
Real action on climate change isn’t just about protecting our environment – it’s about future-proofing our economy and protecting jobs.
Under the Liberals and Nationals industrial pollution has risen by 17 percent, and their own projections show it will rise all the way to 2030.
That’s why Labor will work in partnership with business to help bring down pollution – providing overdue policy certainty and helping the industrial sector plan for the future.
There will be no carbon tax, carbon pricing mechanism, or government revenue.
Rather, Labor will reduce pollution from the biggest industrial polluters by extending the existing pollution cap implemented by Malcolm Turnbull – the safeguard mechanism.
The safeguard mechanism was established under the Liberals and Nationals to cap industrial pollution for the biggest polluters, by setting pollution limits or ‘baselines’ for covered facilities.
However, the Liberals and Nationals have failed to make this mechanism effective in bringing down pollution, or incentivising reduction of pollution below a facility’s baseline.
Labor has listened to industry and stakeholders who desperately want stability after this chaotic government – they don’t want to start from scratch with another mechanism. Industry feedback has been unanimous, businesses want Labor to expand the safeguard mechanism, and we’ve listened.
Labor will expand the safeguard mechanism to make it effective and relevant:
Coverage will be extended to apply to the biggest industrial polluters. Labor will work with industry to extend coverage to a threshold of 25,000 tonnes of direct CO2 pollution annually, and we will consult with industry on this coverage threshold and how it is phased in. It’s estimated around 250 of Australia’s biggest industrial polluters would be captured by this threshold - just 0.01 per cent of all businesses. The agricultural sector will not be covered by the expanded safeguard mechanism, and Labor will work with the red meat industry-owned Research and Development Corporation, Meat and Livestock Australia, to help it meet its commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030. Likewise, electricity sector facilities will not be included – they will be covered separately by Labor’s Energy Plan.
Pollution levels will be reduced: Labor’s safeguard mechanism will reduce industrial pollution in line with Labor’s targets – fixing one of the biggest issues with the current safeguards mechanism, its failure to bring down pollution. Labor will consult with industry on the baselines and trajectories that apply to each covered entity.
Businesses will be able to earn credits for overachievement: Labor will allow for businesses to earn credits and be rewarded for reducing pollution below their baselines, which they can sell or carry over to meet their future pollution cap. This means businesses can make money out of cutting pollution.
- Emissions intensive trade exposed industries (EITEs) will be supported to keep Australian businesses competitive - In recognition that emission intensive trade exposed industries face particular challenges in reducing pollution while maintaining their international competitiveness, Labor will provide tailored treatment for EITEs such as steel, aluminium and cement. This will ensure they face comparable impacts from climate change policies as their competitors do in relevant international markets. Labor will also establish a Strategic Industries Taskforce and $300m Strategic Industries Reserve Fund to support these industries in finding solutions to cut pollution and remain competitive.
Labor will consult with industry and experts on baselines that should apply to individual entities and how they will decrease over time.
In addition, Labor will put in place a well-functioning offset market and reinvigorate the land offset market.
Currently, a facility that emits more than its baseline must offset excess emissions by purchasing offsets, primarily from the land sector. But currently businesses cannot access international offsets, or offsets from the electricity sector.
Labor will make it easier for covered businesses to meet any offset obligations, not only by allowing for the creation and sale of offsets if emissions fall below baselines, but also through the purchase of international offsets and potentially offsets from the electricity sector.
We will also boost offset supply through revitalising the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) - including reforms to strengthen the integrity of the CFI, and increasing land and other sector abatement opportunities. This will include exploring the establishment of ‘premium’ land sector credits to provide substantial environmental, biodiversity and other co-benefits, establishing a Carbon Assessment Standard to boost the bankability of offset projects, and re-vitalising offset methodology research and development with an additional $40 million in funding over four years.
Labor’s plan will help industry reduce pollution at least cost, and give traditional owners, farmers, the forestry industry and traditional owners new opportunities to earn income.
Labor will also abolish the Liberal’s ineffective and expensive Emission Reduction Fund (ERF). The ERF has failed to drive down Australia’s emissions, while costing Australian taxpayers $2.25 billion, with the Liberals pledging a further $2 billion for this ineffective policy.
Labor’s approach isn’t about punishing polluters, it’s about partnering with industry to find real, practical solutions to cut pollution, in a way that protects and grows industry and jobs.
The Liberal Party is full of climate sceptics and hopelessly divided on climate change – Scott Morrison even brought a lump of coal into Parliament instead of a climate policy.
The Liberals and Nationals have pushed up power prices and pollution by undermining investment in renewable energy and backing power privatisations – and their chaos and division means industry can’t adequately plan and invest in the future.
There is only one major political party serious about real action on climate change – Labor. That’s because we are determined to pass on a better deal to the next generation – and we will partner with business and industry to achieve it.
Only Labor will deliver real action on climate change and lower pollution, lower power prices and a stronger economy.