Parliament House, Canberra

The passage of the Federal Government’s Climate Change Bills aims to provide a whole-of-government approach to driving down emissions and create the energy policy and investment certainty needed to usher in economic growth and opportunity in a decarbonising global economy.

The legislation cements the country’s emissions reduction target of 43 per cent and net zero emissions by 2050 commitment, with annual updates made to Parliament securing accountability.

The Government said Australia’s prior lack of commitment to a single policy means its economy and communities may have missed out on billions of dollars in public and private clean energy investment over the last decade. 

Federal 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,” Mr 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.

The Australian Energy Council (AEC) has offered its congratulations to the Federal Government with the AEC’s Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, saying the AEC fully supports the government’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.  

“Enshrining a policy in legislation gives businesses and industry greater clarity,” Ms McNamara said.  

“For sectors like electricity, which are already deeply invested in Australia’s decarbonisation journey, policy confidence is critical to the sector’s orderly transition.

“We look forward to the amended Bill being passed by the House of Representatives in due course.”

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.

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