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Greens back 'Dutton-proof' emissions reduction floor

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Greens leader Adam Bandt has welcomed confirmation from the Albanese Government that a 43 per cent emissions-reduction target would be a minimum commitment, ahead of a climate bill being introduced to Parliament tomorrow.

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As federal parliament resumes for the first time since May’s election, the Albanese government will introduce its climate bill on Wednesday.

It will enshrine a 43 per cent cut in emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2050, as promised at the election.

As negotiations continue with the Greens, Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen said 43 per cent represents a floor and not a ceiling to future emissions-reduction measures.

Bandt said that move is a good step and wants to remove any chance of the legislation being wound back.

“If we’re going to pass targets and put them into law, we want to make sure it’s (opposition leader Peter) Dutton-proof so it’s not something that can be unwound at a future date,” he said on Tuesday.

“We want to make sure this is a genuine floor – you can’t go below the weak target – and it’s not a ceiling.

“We have been concerned the bill has no teeth.”

The Greens leader had previously expressed concern the 43 per cent target would be an upper limit for emissions reduction and not able to be increased by future governments.

Meanwhile, Tasmanian Liberal MP Bridget Archer said she is open to crossing the floor to support Labor’s bill.

“This is an issue important to Australians, we are facing many threats as a result of climate change,” she said.

“My job, my only job, is to represent the people of Bass.”

The bill would also task the independent Climate Change Authority with giving public advice on the nation’s advances in reducing emissions, while the climate change minister would have to table a response if disagreeing with the advice.

The authority must also make suggestions for future targets at least once every five years, including new targets under the Paris Agreement which will contain one for 2035.

A review of the law will take place within five years, followed by another 10 years later.

Bowen said the government is delivering on the mandate it was given by voters.

“The bill makes it clear 43 per cent is our minimum commitment and does not prevent our collective efforts delivering even stronger reductions over the coming decade,” he said.

“We encourage members of parliament to support this bill and signal our shared national commitment to responsible climate action.”

Bandt has called for the government to also put an end to new coal and gas projects.

To pass the bill, the government will need the support of all 12 Greens plus at least one crossbencher in the Senate.

Bandt said while the government had a mandate to introduce the 43 per cent target in the lower house, negotiations were needed for the upper house.

“My energy at the moment is focused on having discussions with the government to try and address those issues of coal and gas, (and) look at how we make sure the target can be lifted,” he said.

“The parties and independents whose vote went up were the ones who said it’s time to get out of coal and gas.”

-AAP

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