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Australia’s Albanese Government Introduces Net Zero Authority Bill

Australia’s Albanese Government Introduces Net Zero Authority Bill

Mar 27, 2024

Australia’s Albanese Government Introduces Net Zero Authority Bill

The Albanese Labor government in Australia has introduced legislation to establish a Net Zero Economy Authority. This bill allocates $189.3 million (US123.5 million) to the initiative.

The Net Zero Economy Authority Bill 2024 is designed to facilitate an “orderly and positive economic transformation” as the global community "moves towards decarbonization." Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated that it will be instrumental in one of Australia's most significant economic transitions, aiming to position the country as a renewable energy superpower.

“We are home to every metal and critical mineral essential to net zero. Our workforce is skilled and valued, our safety standards are the highest in the world, and we have a proven track record as a reliable producer and exporter of energy and resources,” Mr. Albanese explained. “There is no nation on earth better placed than Australia to achieve the energy transition here at home and power it in the world.”

The Net Zero Economy Authority will operate as an independent statutory body within the prime minister's portfolio. Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Patrick Gorman introduced a supplementary bill, the Net Zero Economy Authority (Transitional Provisions) Bill 2024, to the House of Representatives on March 27. This bill supports the establishment of the authority and the appointment of its first chief executive officer.

Debate on the bill was adjourned following its introduction to parliament.

Reactions to the Net Zero Economy Authority Bill

Polly Hemming, the director of the Australia Institute’s Climate and Energy program, expressed concerns about the potential for conflicts of interest and industry influence, given the absence of explicit safeguards in the bill. Conversely, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) welcomed the legislation, with ACTU President Michele O'Neil describing it as a culmination of over a decade of union campaigning.

“The bill represents a critical step forward in ensuring all workers and communities benefit from moving to a net zero economy, so no one is left behind in the energy transition,” the ACTU stated, emphasizing the authority's role in creating a "sturdy bridge to a clean energy future for workers, their families, and communities."

Opposition Concerns

The Opposition, however, has raised concerns about the government’s focus on renewable energy to the exclusion of other options, such as nuclear power. Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Ted O'Brien advocated for the consideration of nuclear energy, citing its zero-emissions status and global use. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton also warned that the government’s approach could lead to increased energy costs for Australians, potentially exacerbating the cost of living.

Climate Reporting Legislation

In parallel with the Net Zero Economy Authority Bill, the Albanese government has introduced the Treasury Laws Amendment (Financial Market Infrastructure and Other Measures) Bill, which mandates climate reporting for large companies starting in early 2025. This legislation will apply to companies that meet at least two of the following criteria: over $500 million in revenue, more than $1 billion in gross assets, or a workforce exceeding 500 employees.

Originally reported by The Epoch Times


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