Crossbench calls for Labor to go further on climate change legislation


Crossbench members from both Houses of NSW Parliament are working together to improve the Government’s signature Climate Change Net Zero Future Bill, that in its current form could delay achieving net zero until 2050 and fail to legislate the existing emissions reduction target of 70% by 2035 should it pass next week. 

The bill has no mechanism to bind the government to any targets and seeks to replace the net zero board with a net zero commission, both of which advise the government on achieving net zero. The Climate Change bill was subject to inquiry in recent weeks that was chaired by Greens MP and spokesperson for climate change Sue Higginson. 

Ms Higginson said: “A crossbench alliance of the Greens, independent MPs and the Animal Justice Party, have reached agreement on a suite of baseline amendments to the government’s bill to make it more ambitious and better aligned with science and obligations under the Paris Agreement. 

“In reality the Government has put a bill on the table that would take us backwards in terms of emissions reduction ambition. We currently have regulations to achieve 50% emissions reduction by 2030, 70% by 2035 and net zero by 2050. Under these settings, according to evidence presented at the Inquiry, NSW is on track to achieve 56% emissions reduction by 2030 before the Government even announced its latest investment in renewable energy. Legislating a 50% emissions reduction target by 2030 would actually be worsening our position, not improving it.”

“During the inquiry it was revealed that the targets in the bill are too little too late. The evidence is clear - if we are going to keep global heating below 2 degrees we need to achieve net zero by 2035, 2040 at the very latest and NSW has the capacity to do it. Also presented was the importance of frontloading our emissions reduction - the window between now and 2030 is the most important. This window is rapidly closing, so we need to act now, not leave it until 2050. 

“We have worked diligently as the cross bench and proposed amendments that will increase the ambition of the targets, ensure greater integrity of the commission and strengthen its powers when it comes to advising the government. We need climate laws that are more than ornamental and performative. They must drive ambition and do the heavy lifting to achieve emissions reduction. 

“All of our amendments are reasonable and backed by the evidence presented in the inquiry. This is why we had an inquiry, to ensure that we’re legislating the best possible response to the climate emergency. We’re now calling on the government to work with us to amend the bill and pass it inline with community expectations.” Ms Higginson said. 

The committee report from the inquiry the bill is due to be handed down this Friday at 10am, November 17. 

For media contact Sue Higginson: 0428 227 363