Senate debates

Monday, 27 November 2023

Regulations and Determinations

Competition and Consumer (Gas Market Code) Regulations 2023; Disallowance

3:58 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I'm not sure if I will name them, but I think those interjecting right now know exactly where they used to work—we all know too. I'm sick of the fossil fuel company running this parliament. I'm sick of the donations that they make that buy influence over this parliament. I'm sick of the 'regulation' being written by them in a way that creates loopholes for them. And everybody else is sick of it too.

We've got a gas code here that does do some good things, but the absolute flaw in this code is that it will incentivise the opening up of new gas fields. The Greens just cannot support that. We will never support new coal, oil or gas. We're in a climate crisis, folks. What more scientific evidence do you need? How many more natural disasters do you need us all to experience before the penny will drop that you can't fix this issue by making it worse?

We heard from Minister Bowen, who gave a bit of a sneak peek of what's going to be announced on Friday, that you're not going to meet your greenhouse gas reduction targets. We saw an announcement late last week that you'll underwrite more renewable energy, which is also facing a shortfall, to help meet that target. Yet now you want to write a code that essentially incentivises the gas companies to open up new gas fields. I'm sorry, but it just does not add up. You can't say you're taking climate action and, at the same time, tick off on almost every coalmine that crosses your desk and facilitate new gas fields being opened up. Nobody is fooled by that. They are sick of the mining companies, and the fossil fuel companies in particular, running this parliament.

We will not be supporting this gas code of conduct and we are moving to disallow it. I might just add that, in this place, in our last sitting week, we had a debate about the water trigger, which currently applies to coal seam gas but does not apply to unconventional gas—to the shale and tight gas that exists in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Currently, their water is not protected at all by federal environmental laws. The Greens, again, have a bill to fix that and to extend that protection to all forms of gas extraction and include all unconventional gas in the water trigger. The timing of that could be quite nice, but rather than the government delivering on expanding the water trigger—which, I might add, is in their party policy, but we're still waiting for the delivery of that one—they're racing through new gas fields.

It hearkens back to 2013, when the initial water trigger was introduced. The then environment minister, Minister Burke, ticked off on two massive coal seam gas fields and then, seven days later, decided we needed a water trigger. The people are alive to how much influence the fossil fuel companies have on this parliament and they're fed up with it. They'd like their democracy back. They want you to stop taking the dirty donations from these companies that so poison your decision-making and they would like to see their water protected. They would like to have affordable energy to run their homes and businesses and they would like you to look at supporting businesses to transition off gas, not to create backdoors to prop up Santos's private profits. That is not your job anymore. Your job is here in this place now, and you are meant to be representing the people, the public interest. You are meant to be protecting the climate. We will be disallowing this gas code and we invite others to join us in doing so.


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