Australian Government Establishes Net Zero Authority

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The government is providing $189.3 million for the authority to spearhead the country’s net zero transition.

The Albanese Labor government has introduced a law to set up a Net Zero Authority in Australia to support the country’s transition to net zerov.

The Labor government is pumping $189.3 million (US123.5 million) of taxpayer funds into the initiative to resource the authority.

The Net Zero Economy Authority Bill 2024 (pdf) aims to promote an “orderly and positive economic transformation” as the “world decarbonises.”

Mr. Albanese said the Net Zero Economy Authority will play a role in one of the most significant economic events in Australia’s history and 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 said.

“There is no nation on earth better placed than Australia to achieve the energy transition here at home and power it in the world.”

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The authority will be an independent statutory body within the prime minister’s portfolio.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Patrick Gorman also introduced the Net Zero Economy Authority (Transitional Provisions) Bill 2024 to the House of Representatives on March 27.

“The bill supports the establishment of the authority as it facilitates the appointment of the first chief executive officer of the authority,” he said in parliament on March 27.

Debate was adjourned on the bill after it was introduced into parliament.

Reaction to the Bill

Polly Hemming, director of the Australia Institute’s Climate and Energy program raised concerns about conflicts of interest.

“The government has introduced the Net Zero Authority Bill to parliament. No explicit safeguards against conflicts of interest/industry influence and nothing I can see that would stop expansion,” she said on X.

Also commenting on the legislation, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) said the Net Zero Economy Authority will support workers and their communities.

ACTU President Michele O’Neil said the bill marks the culmination of more than a decade of campaigning from the union movement.

“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 union said.

“The Net Zero Economy Authority creates a sturdy bridge to a clean energy future for workers, their families and communities—ensuring change happens with workers, not workers.”

Concerns Nuclear is Not Being Considered

Meanwhile, the Opposition is focussing its concerns on Labor’s “renewable-only strategy.”

Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Ted O’Brien called for nuclear in a post onFacebook on March 26.

“Zero-emissions nuclear energy is a proven source of clean, reliable and low-cost energy used all around the world,” Mr. O’Brien said.

“The Albanese Labor government refuses to even have a mature conversation about the role next-generation nuclear could play in cleaning up Australia’s grid.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton also said cost of living would be impacted.

“Labor’s renewables-only obsession is causing Australians’ energy bills to skyrocket, pushing 500 families a week into energy poverty,” Mr. Dutton said in Parliament (pdf) on March 26.
Meanwhile, the Albanese government has also introduced laws to mandate climate reporting for large companies from early 2025.
The Treasury Laws Amendment (Financial Market Infrastructure and Other Measures) Bill (pdf) will require large companies to complete a climate statement together with their financial statements.

Initially, the legislation applies to large companies with two out of the three following criteria: revenue exceeding $500 million (US$326 million), gross assets surpassing $1 billion, or a workforce of 500 employees or more.

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