Greens Leader Adam Bandt and Greens spokesperson on Industry, Transition and Regional Development Senator Penny Allman-Payne have secured agreement from the government on amendments to the National Reconstruction Fund Bill that will prevent future governments using the fund to invest in coal and gas projects or log native forests.
The Department confirmed in Senate estimates that there was nothing currently stopping the proposed Corporation investing in these destructive industries. The Greens amendments create a class of ‘prohibited investments’ within the legislation that explicitly ban the National Reconstruction Fund Corporation from financing the extraction of coal and gas, the construction of gas pipelines and the logging of native forests.
The Greens have also secured a government amendment so that Investments made by the Board will also have to align with the legislated climate targets and any future updated commitment by Australia under the Paris Agreement.
The Greens will now support the passage of the bill through the House of Representatives with the government agreeing to support the Greens amendments on coal and gas. The Greens will also support the bill in the Senate subject to consideration of government and other amendments.
Quotes attributable to Greens Leader Adam Bandt
“Coal and gas are the biggest cause of the climate crisis, so this is a big win for the climate and a big win for jobs and the economy.
“Coal and gas are out of the Reconstruction Fund, and native forest logging is too.
“We thank the government for the constructive approach they have taken in the negotiations and hope this can continue in the Safeguard and Housing Bill discussions in the coming period.”
Quotes attributable to Greens spokesperson for industry, regional development and transition Senator Penny Allman-Payne
“The Greens took a policy for a manufacturing fund to the election and we strongly support public investment in rebuilding manufacturing in Australia.
“The amendments the Greens have secured will ensure that the National Reconstruction Fund will be focused on creating high-quality jobs across a diverse economy, particularly in regional Australia.
“The Coalition tried to use public money to fund coal and gas through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and they were unable to do so because of the guardrails that the Greens and Labor put in place. Now we have the same assurance that the NRF won’t be used to fund the climate crisis.
“Every cent spent on coal and gas would wreck the climate and divert much needed funding from manufacturing initiatives, especially in regional Australia. The Greens have made sure that this fund will only be invested in building the future of Australian manufacturing, not propping up coal and gas corporations.”
The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
National Reconstruction Fund Corporation Bill 2023
Clause 63, page 39 (after line 3), at the end of the clause, add:
An investment of a Corporation body must not:
directly finance the extraction of coal or natural gas; or
directly finance the construction of pipeline infrastructure primarily for the extraction of natural gas; or
directly finance the logging of native forests.
In this section:
native forest does not include a plantation.
Plantation means an intensively managed stand of trees that is created by the regular placement of seedlings or seed.