Saturday, 5 November 2022

Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s decision to reassess approvals for 18 major coal and gas projects marks the introduction of a ‘climate trigger’ by stealth – and a dangerous moment for Australia.

Shadow Resources Minister Susan McDonald and Shadow Environment Minister Jonno Duniam said today that the decision confirms widespread fears about the Labor Party’s willingness to encourage increasing green lawfare and the inevitable consequences that it will disrupt crucial economic projects and pile more pain on already stressed households.

“The Albanese Government urgently needs to provide certainty around energy projects – not to encourage further sabotage of them,” said Senator McDonald.

“At a time when Labor’s own Budget forecasts energy prices rising by more than 50 per cent and gas prices by more than 40 per cent, it is appalling that Labor would bow to extreme environmental activists and reopen 18 major project approvals, sending them backwards in the process and further compromising our future supplies of coal and gas,” she said.

“This is another perfect example of how Labor chokes off the supply of coal and gas and then wonders why we have investment risk and supply problems, which lead to price rises,” she said.

“This Government would rather appease extreme environmentalists than help Australian families afford to power their homes.”

Senator Duniam said that “despite promising they would sensibly balance economic and environmental outcomes, Labor have proven yet again they cannot be trusted to keep their commitments, instead even giving money in the Budget to extreme environmental activists”.

“The Coalition has warned a number of times that Labor’s decision to legislate their 43% emissions target would usher in more green lawfare – and the reassessment of these projects provides tangible evidence of that trend,” he said.

“The review of the 18 projects was instigated by Environmental Justice Australia, an organisation dedicated to pursuing lawfare to end the extraction and use of conventional energy sources. This is also the same group that won a share of $9.8 million in funding from Labor in last week’s Federal Budget – and the motivations for that decision are already obvious for all to see,” Senator Duniam said.

Senator McDonald added that “there are clear and damaging divisions in Labor’s Cabinet because the Resources Minister is telling industry that she encourages more mining and gas extraction, but her Cabinet colleagues are running roughshod over her to shut the industry down”.

“This is no way to provide certainty and no way to manage a sector that not only helps keep the lights on, but also contributes billions in royalties and taxes to hospitals, roads, schools and the NDIS. It is no way to help households pay the bills.

“It is also no way to manage the economy, the environment, or the country.”