The Albanese Labor Government is continuing to deliver on its commitments to better protect, restore and manage Australia’s environment.
Following the historic passage of the Restoring Our Rivers Bill to rescue the Murray-Darling Basin Plan last week, the Senate will now debate legislation on two further commitments.
The Government will seek to establish the world’s first Nature Repair Market.
The Nature Repair Market will make it easier for business, philanthropists, and others to invest in projects that restore and repair nature across Australia – without greenwashing.
Investment in the Nature Repair Market means landholders, including farmers and First Nations groups, will get paid to improve the environment on their properties.
For example, repairing damaged riverbeds, replanting critical habitat of threatened species or removing invasive species such as feral cats and weeds.
The Nature Repair Market will be strictly monitored by the federal government to ensure integrity and transparency. The market will be regulated by the Clean Energy Regulator which will have monitoring and enforcement powers to ensure that projects are conducted in accordance with the rules, and are meeting the outcomes promised.
An independent committee will provide advice to the Minister about the methods that set the rules for projects. Certificates’ status and ownership will be tracked via a public register.
The Government will also seek to update the ‘water trigger’, so new unconventional gas projects will be assessed for their impact on water resources.
Before the election, Labor promised to do this, and we’re delivering.
This is a commonsense change, providing businesses with certainty and the community with confidence that water resources and our environment are properly regulated and protected.
The update will expand the water trigger, which already applies to coal seam gas, to include other types of unconventional gas developments such as shale gas.
Most new gas projects will be unaffected by the change as coal seam gas production is already covered by the existing ‘water trigger’, and the changes do not apply to conventional gas production.
Existing gas projects that are in production and have already been approved are unaffected by this update. Projects regulated by National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) will also be unaffected by this update. This will provide certainty for business and ensure continuity of gas supply.
Quotes attributable to Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek:
“After a decade of vandalism and neglect, Australians voted for a government that will fight for nature and the environment. And that is what Labor is doing.
“Last week we rescued the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and today the Senate is debating two more important commitments for nature.
“Our Nature Repair Market will make it easier to invest in restoring nature. It will support landholders to do things like replanting koala habitat, excluding livestock to repair natural marshland or eradicating feral species. This is an exciting chance to see extra investment in protecting our environment.
“Expanding the water trigger is a sensible change that will make sure that we protect our most precious resource – water.
“We are making sure our regulations are keeping pace with changes in technology. If we don’t make this change, we could see different rules applied to different types of unconventional gas, with poorer environmental outcomes as a result.
“The Parliament has a chance to pass these two important reforms this year – and to deliver more environmental protection in nine days than the previous government achieved in nine years.”