Greens win breakthrough agreement to protect nature & climate from greenwashing & gas fracking

Australian Greens

After months of pressure and negotiation the Senate & Albanese Government have agreed to Greens calls for significant environmental reforms to protect nature and the climate from greenwashed habitat destruction and dangerous gas fracking.

The Government has agreed to scrap controversial nature offsets from its proposed Nature Repair Market Bill and to establish new environmental protections from climate-wrecking gas fracking projects.

The Government has agreed to close the loophole which currently gives gas fracking corporations a license to drill without any federal environmental water assessment. The agreement is a major blow to climate-bomb projects in places like the Beetaloo Basin and the Kimberley and a win for the climate, the environment and First Nations communities.

The newly titled ‘Nature Repair Bill’ passed the Senate on Tuesday evening.

Key Points:

Scrapping greenwashing offsets to protect nature:

  • The original Nature Repair Market Bill included a controversial market for biodiversity offsets that developers could trade to destroy nature
  • Labor has agreed to completely scrap biodiversity offsets from the bill after the Greens & experts criticised them as greenwashing for nature destruction
  • The original Nature Repair Market Bill will be renamed the Nature Repair Bill and now provide a system for private investment & philanthropy to protect nature & wildlife on private land, without offsets

Closing the fracking loophole to protect the climate & water from gas:

  • Gas companies currently exploit a loophole which excludes fracking from environment law, allowing massive fracking projects in the Beetaloo, the Kimberley and Perth Basin go ahead without environmental water assessments
  • The Greens have long called for the fracking loophole to be closed, introducing a Water Trigger Bill in October
  • Today’s agreement will insert a ‘Water Trigger’ into the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) and force fracking projects to undergo environmental assessment

Adam Bandt MP is Greens Leader and Climate Change Spokesperson:

“Greens pressure works. The Greens have secured another hit on the new oil and gas projects fuelling the climate crisis.

“These changes now give the Environment Minister the power to halt new gas mines, so I hope she stops the Beetaloo and Burrup Hub climate bombs from going ahead.

“In a time of climate crisis, no new coal and gas projects should get approved. You can’t put the fire out while you’re pouring petrol on it.

“Labor had delayed critical changes to our environment laws, but Greens pressure got the job done before huge new climate-wrecking projects could get approved.”

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is Greens Manager of Business in the Senate and Spokesperson for the Environment & Water:

“Today the Greens have delivered to protect nature from the greenwashing of big developers and mining corporations and protect the climate and water from gas fracking giants.

“This is a huge hit on gas fracking corporations in places like the Beetaloo and the Kimberley. Closing the fracking loophole via this ‘Water Trigger’ will mean gas companies will no longer be able to bypass Australia’s environment laws and fossil fuel companies will not be let off the hook for wrecking waterways and the climate.

“On nature, the Greens have significantly improved environmental integrity by completely scrapping the dodgy biodiversity offsets that would have been used to greenwash wildlife and habitat destruction within the original Nature Repair Market Bill. The renamed Nature Repair Bill will now better protect habitat and wildlife without greenwashed offsets.

“The Bill enables private investment on private land to stop extinction and destruction in line with the Global Biodiversity Framework to protect at least 30% of land, freshwater and ocean ecosystems by 2030.

“I want to thank Minister Tanya Plibersek for working constructively with the Greens on these significant outcomes that will make a difference in protecting our planet.”

This is the second significant compact between the Greens and the Federal Government in as many weeks following the successful negotiation of the Restoring Our Rivers Bill on the Murray-Darling Basin last week.

Further background on gas fracking projects:

  • Beetaloo Basin alone is up to 25% of Australia’s annual greenhouse pollution
  • Billionaires Gina Rinehart & Kerry Stokes are invested in gas fracking in the Perth Basin
  • Woodside’s massive polluting Burrup Hub also intends to secure fracked gas from the Kimberly and the Perth Basin, in addition to the Browse and Scarborough offshore fields.
  • Fracking poses a serious environmental risk to water sources like the mighty Roper River, the Mataranka Hot Springs and the Fitzroy River catchment in the Kimberley.

/Public Release. View in full here.