Media release

Government ignores the billion tonne elephant in the room with its Safeguard Mechanism updates

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility​ (ACCR) is commenting on the release of proposed changes to the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Safeguard Mechanism) Rule.

Commenting on the proposed changes, Alex Hillman, Lead Analyst at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:

“The Government continues to ignore the billion tonne elephant in the room of Australia’s fossil fuel exports.

“Managing Australia’s 137 million tonnes of domestic industrial greenhouse gas emissions is important, but the billion tonnes of fossil fuel emissions that we export every year must be a higher priority for the government.

“The International Energy Agency concluded in 2021 that the best way to ensure a safe climate requires stopping the development of new fossil fuels. If Australia wants to be a trustworthy climate partner, it can’t just continue with Abbott era policies and must stop supporting new fossil fuel developments.

“The Labor government has a clear electoral mandate to address Australia’s dangerous contribution to climate change. It should use this to protect Australia’s future and focus on the opportunities of decarbonisation and green industry, not protecting fossil fuel companies from the inevitable shift in global energy markets.

“Investors are also calling for reductions in exported fossil fuel emissions, with 49% of Woodside investors voting against its 2022 Climate Report due, in part, to the absence of a Scope 3 emissions reduction target.

“Today’s announcement reflects a set of incremental improvements that do not adequately manage Australia’s industrial emissions.

“It allows for unlimited use of offsets, including from discredited methods such as people promising to not cut down trees they weren’t going to cut down anyway.”


The Safeguard Mechanism was established by the Abbott government as part of the Direct Action Plan. It limits the emissions of industrial facilities. Since the Safeguard Mechanism was implemented however, emissions from covered facilities have increased, because companies have been allowed to increase their emission limits.

This is the third round of consultation on the Safeguard Mechanism since the 2022 election. ACCR’s previous submissions are available here and here.

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