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Greens-negotiated improvements to Safeguard Mechanism important, but Labor must move faster

Lock the Gate Alliance welcomes improvements to the Safeguard Mechanism negotiated by the Greens and Labor, but urges the Federal Government to act faster to respond to the climate crisis, with a climate trigger in national environment law the next big test.

Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Carmel Flint, said “This hard-fought struggle to win some modest changes to the Safeguard Mechanism scheme has highlighted once again the stranglehold that big coal and gas have on our governments.

“It shouldn’t take negotiations like this for Australia to adopt a policy that will actually reduce emissions. The Australian public expects better from the Federal Government,” she said.

“Labor limited the Safeguard Mechanism changes to consideration of direct emissions from coal and gas only, and the vast downstream impacts from the burning of those fuels on our global climate impact has still not been addressed.

“The next step following this reform must be to introduce a climate trigger into federal environment laws that leads to the refusal of new and expanded coal and gas projects due to their lifecycle greenhouse emissions and contribution to global climate chaos. 

“Today, we’re pleased to see the amendments negotiated to the Safeguard Mechanism will finally achieve what the government had said it was meant to do – reduce direct emissions from Australia's top polluters. 

“The hard cap on emissions across the scheme will place some guard rails on direct emissions from new coal and gas projects, with the insertion of a “pollution trigger” adding some teeth to the mechanism.

“We’re pleased to see Beetaloo Basin fracking projects singled out for the dangerous, polluting idea that they are, and a tough zero emissions baseline applied to direct emissions. 

“These changes will increase costs and uncertainty for all polluting coal and gas and acknowledge what we already know - these dirty projects don't stack up.

“The changes also highlight ongoing problems with our offsets system that need to be fixed, placing a pause on new Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) creation under the highly problematic Human Induced Regeneration (HIR) method. 

“We congratulate the Greens on fighting tooth and nail to achieve these outcomes, and the other members of the crossbench for standing strong. We’re glad Labor negotiated in good faith to find this path forward.

“We know Australia is out of time on climate – we are one of the countries that is being hit hardest with extreme weather, and new coal and gas will send the world beyond the point of no return.  We urge Federal Labor to grasp that urgency and find the courage to stand up to coal and gas corporations hell bent on destroying our future for profit.”

ENDS

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