Australia legislates emissions reduction targets

The Albanese Government’s landmark Climate Change Bills have now passed the Senate, ensuring Australia's emissions reduction target of 43 per cent and net zero emissions by 2050 will be enshrined in legislation.

For almost a decade, Australia stumbled from one policy to another, and our economy and communities missed out on billions of dollars in public and private clean energy investment. But today that changes.

This overdue legislation will provide the energy policy and investment certainty needed to usher in economic growth and opportunity in a decarbonising global economy.

The Bills ensure a whole-of-government approach to drive down emissions and accountability through an annual update to Parliament.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the legislation puts Australia on a credible path to net zero.

“The passage of the Climate Change legislation sends a message to the world that Australia is serious about driving down emissions, and serious about reaping the economic opportunities from affordable renewable energy ,” Minister Bowen said.

“Legislating these targets gives certainty to investors and participants in the energy market and will help stabilise our energy system.

“It also strengthens transparency and accountability through the annual climate change statement and will ensure public debate informs government decisions.”

This legislation has brought together business, industry, unions, farmers, community and conservation groups, all of whom have asked the Parliament to put Australia on the path to net-zero emissions.

  • Business Council of Australia: ““Prime Minister Albanese and Minister Bowen have brought Australia a step closer to ending the climate wars that have put a handbrake on progress and become a serious economic barrier. We welcome this legislation and the adoption of key elements of the Business Council’s plan to reach net zero emissions.”
  • Australia Council of Trade Unions: “There doesn’t have to be a fight between jobs and climate action, we can and must have both. With the Albanese Government and a new Parliament, we can finally work towards the future.”
  • Australia Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “The business community has been very clear, consensus on energy and emissions reduction policy must be achieved. The best way to secure the planning, investment and innovation that will underlie an efficient energy transition is through legislated targets.”

The legislation empowers the Climate Change Authority to provide the government with independent and expert advice while agencies including the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Infrastructure Australia and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility will embed amended targets in their objectives and functions.

The Senate Environment and Communication Legislation Committee recommended passage of the Bill on 31 August.

As at 8 September 2022.