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Labor dumps offshore gas bill

Written by on May 16, 2024

The Albanese government’s proposed fuel efficiency standards are set to sail through parliament after it clinched a deal with the Greens.

But Labor will dump legislation designed to speed up environmental approval processes for new offshore gas developments in return.

A vote on proposed emissions caps for new vehicles and a hike to the petroleum resource rent tax will be supported is expected on Thursday afternoon.

Hailing the result as a major win, Greens leader Adam Bandt claimed the minor party had “killed” the gas approvals policy.

“This is a big blow to the coal and gas corporations, a big win for the climate and First Nations voices, and it happened because the Greens have power in parliament,” he said.

The policy would have handed Resources Minister Madeleine King the power to alter consultation rules on offshore gas developments after Woodside’s Scarborough and Santos’ Barossa gas fields were subject to legal action.

Under the new emissions standards, fleetwide emission caps for passenger and light commercial vehicles, bringing Australia into line with other developed economies that have similar schemes.

The automotive industry has previously warned there could price hikes and fewer choices for popular SUVs and utes.

The Albanese government in March released options for emissions standards, designed to increase the uptake of low and zero emissions vehicles.

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While the standards won’t ban any particular model, car brands will be penalised if the average emissions of all the vehicles they import is higher than a cap that will be slashed by more than 60 per cent from 2025 until the end of the decade, under the government’s preferred option for the standard.

The PRRT changes will reduce generous tax deductions to oil and gas companies capital expenditures, and are expected to raise $2.4bn over the four-year forward estimates.

More to come.