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Question to the Minister for Resources on the Governments future gas strategy

16 May, 2024:

Dr Sophie Scamps: My question is to the Minister for Resources. Minister, last week you announced your government's Future Gas Strategy, which will put the pedal to the metal on gas production in this country. I acknowledge that existing gas production is necessary while we transition to a renewable economy. However, even Labor's own environment action network said that this undermines their members' confidence in your government's commitment to climate action. Minister, doesn't becoming the world's largest gas exporter completely blow all our other abatement measures out of the water?

Ms Madeleine King (Brand—Minister for Resources and Minister for Northern Australia): I thank the member for Mackellar for her question and for her interest in this very complex area of government policy. And I acknowledge the interest of so many members in this House—and the interest right around the house, in the other place and in all the constituencies—in this issue. I want to be really clear. I'll refer to your question and I'll refer to the Future Gas Strategy. The Albanese government is committed to climate action and to net zero by 2050. We have legislated targets, we have reformed the safeguard mechanism and we have committed to 82 per cent renewables by 2030. Principle 1 of the Future Gas Strategy is this:

Australia is committed to supporting global emissions reductions to reduce the impacts of climate change and will reach net zero emissions by 2050.

It is consistent because of the work that this government is doing and will continue to do. Our reforms to the safeguard mechanism will drive down emissions across a range of emissions-intensive oil and gas operations, covering the emissions of 130 resource sector facilities. Any new gas fields supplying LNG facilities will be given a zero baseline allocation for the reservoir CO2 in their fields. This is law. This means that gas from any new offshore fields will be carbon-neutral from the very start. Since we came to office, there has been a 25 per cent increase in renewables in the national energy market. This has driven both the total emissions and the emissions intensity of this country to all-time record lows. We will keep driving policy and actions to make sure we hit that 82 per cent target.

Because we have done those things, we do need to carefully consider how gas fits into those net zero commitments. The Future Gas Strategy seeks to do this through a solid evidence base, after a year of work and extensive consultation. Energy security and affordability is important for households, for jobs, for manufacturing capacity and for our national prosperity. And energy security is of vital importance for the geopolitical stability of our region. The findings are very clear: the role of gas will change, and gas emissions simply must reduce. The use of gas is different across the nation. I would observe that, whatever point of view you want to take on this really complex issue of decarbonising the global economy while also ensuring energy security, slogans alone will not in any way advance global net zero emissions ambitions.