Annual Climate Change Statement to Parliament


In acknowledging the traditional custodians of these lands – the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people – I want to acknowledge all Indigenous people and their knowledge of country, local and cultural knowledge and the importance of this to our climate and energy future.

First Nations communities are among the most energy insecure in the world.

91 per cent of remote Indigenous households in the NT experience an electricity disconnection at some point during the year. 

74 per cent more than ten times in a year. 

That’s why we are putting First Nations voices at the heart of our plans.

With the establishment in April of the First Nations Clean Energy and Emissions Reduction Advisory Committee.

With the First Nations Clean Energy Strategy – with consultation opening a few weeks ago.

Backed by practical measures such as $75 million in funding to roll out microgrids in regional and remote First Nations communities.

We want to support our First Nations people to participate in and benefit from the clean energy transformation…

Ensure access for reliable clean energy for all Australians….

And ensure First Nations cultural heritage, knowledge and connection to land and sea country is respected.


Mr Speaker –

The key to Australia’s economic prosperity is harnessing the opportunities of the energy transformation.

In a very real way, the key to the future health of our population and our planet, is averting dangerous climate change.

And bringing the business community, industry, workers, climate and energy stakeholders together on a new page for the future of our nation.

Today I want to discuss where we’ve come from,

Where we are,

And where we are going next.

Because Mr Speaker –

While I am pleased with our progress, I am not yet satisfied.

The job is far from done.

But we should acknowledge the significant steps we have taken in the past 12 months.

The opportunities and reasons for action are significant and compelling – including for economic, productivity and national security reasons, which I’ll speak about shortly.

But I won’t shy away from the challenges either.

It’s why we are fully focused on driving the transformation, why we have set ambitious – but achievable – policies and why we can’t take a step off the pedal when it comes to our goals.


Mr Speaker –

We came into government with a big agenda.

To drive a domestic energy transformation, lift our climate ambition and put the nation on a new trajectory. 

To provide new leadership, at home and abroad. 

To turn our country’s climate policy from an international embarrassment into a means of international engagement. 

To capitalise on the best comparative advantage our country has ever been presented with –

To make our country a renewable energy superpower. 

We’ve made a good start - but the job is far from over. 

Last year, in the first Annual Climate Change Statement, I spoke of the reset we had delivered –

In updating our NDC and 2030 target, a lift from 26-28 per cent to 43 per cent.

In getting support from across the community, in recognition that past policy paralysis had cost our nation in economic opportunity and in action in reducing emissions.

In the past 12 months we have accelerated that momentum.

The updated emissions projections we are releasing today show good progress but that we must stay the course in implementing our policies.

I’m pleased to update that this year, we have seen progress and are within striking distance of 43 per cent by 2030.

With policies we have announced and are in the process of implementing, Australia’s emissions are projected to be 42 per cent below 2005 levels in 2030 - compared to 40 per cent in last year’s projections.

Australia’s total net emissions from 2021 to 2030 are projected to be one per cent below the 10-year budget.

Importantly, while this figure includes significant policies which are being implemented, like the expanded Capacity Investment Scheme – it doesn’t include others which are at an earlier stage of design, or with impacts that will take longer to quantify – such as Hydrogen Headstart.

Of course, this progress is in the context of an international environment which has seen energy prices rise everywhere across the world.

It was important to act to shield Australia from the worst energy price impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Our intervention at the end of last year was significant –

It was not done lightly and it needed very careful design and deep consultation. 

But it was utterly necessary.

For families and businesses, facing significant increases in their energy bills if no action was taken.

And for Australian industry, who would find viability increasingly threatened because of a spike in energy prices which was the result of events on the other side of the world. 

The introduction of a gas and coal cap, supported by targeted energy rebates to more than five million households and more than one million small businesses, as announced in the Budget.

Action which the energy regulator said helped the energy increase to be “significantly lower than what (they’d) feared.”

And this is supported by longer-term measures to support energy efficiency and smarter energy usage –

$1 billion to the Household Energy Upgrades Fund, enabling the CEFC to partner with loan institutions to offer low-cost finance for household energy upgrades.

$300 million for social housing energy upgrades – ensuring no one is locked out from accessing the benefits of cleaner, cheaper energy.

$310 million to help up to 3.8 million small and medium sized businesses with tax deductions for energy upgrades that will reduce bills.

And $100 million for local government to improve the energy efficiency of projects across the community – such as swimming pools and sporting facilities.

Mr Speaker –

Before I turn to next steps, it is worth touching on progress made in the last year.

  • Only last week, we announced a critical expansion to the Capacity Investment Scheme to deliver the long-term reliable, affordable and low-emissions energy system Australians deserve as our grid changes – taking the scheme from the current pilot stage to nine gigawatts of dispatchable capacity and 23 gigawatts of variable capacity – for a total of 32 gigawatts nationally.
  • We’ve put in place a Gas Code of Conduct, meaning gas supply at more reasonable prices for Australian users.
  • We’ve given the Safeguard Mechanism teeth, requiring net emissions reductions from our 215 biggest industrial emitters of 4.9 per cent a year, equivalent of taking two-thirds of the cars off our roads by 2030. And I can update the Parliament that today’s projections show our reforms continue the acceleration of onsite emissions reductions from Safeguard facilities, with around 260 million tonnes of onsite reductions expected to 2035.
  • We’ve struck further funding deals for vital new energy infrastructure under Rewiring the Nation – with NSW and WA, building on previous announcements with Tasmania and Victoria.
  • In the last twelve months we’ve developed, and are implementing, a four-point plan for better community engagement on transmission and commissioned a review on what more we can and should do to improve social licence.
  • This is incredibly important – because we know that building community support is at the heart of community acceptance of vital transmission and generation projects.
  • We’re working to give better guidance to landholders and communities about their rights and entitlements, through a national engagement guide.
  • We’ve introduced reforms for earlier and better engagement with communities by transmission companies, and ensure complaints are appropriately handled… so that regional communities to get the best outcomes from new energy infrastructure. 
  • We’ve designated the Gippsland and Hunter offshore wind zones and begun consultation on the Southern Ocean, Illawarra and Bass zones.
  • Our electric vehicle discount has contributed to an increase in electric car sales from around two per cent when we came to office to close to nine per cent over the first three quarters of the year.
  • We’ve funded and have commenced the rollout of our Driving the Nation charging program, which will see a fast charger once every 150km on average on our highways.
  • We’ve signed funding agreements to deliver more than 50 community batteries around Australia and the broader expression of interest process for a further 342 through ARENA is well underway.
  • In the Budget, we established the Net Zero Economy Agency to have a laser-like focus on the economic opportunities for the regions, industries and workers at the centre of the energy transformation – the ones that have powered Australia for generations.
  • And we have budgeted $2 billion to the vital Hydrogen Headstart program so Australia stays in the green hydrogen game, with ARENA currently considering formal expressions of interest.
  • We released the Critical Minerals Strategy and topped up the Critical Minerals Facility to the tune of $2 billion so that we can see priority investments in the minerals needed for the clean energy transformation.
  • We’ve opened all funding streams for the $1.9 billion Powering the Regions Fund and are assessing the first round of applications for a number of streams.
  • We established the National Reconstruction Fund with targeted investment of $3 billion in renewables and low emissions technologies.
  • We’ve also recapitalised the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, with additional focus on local content and employment opportunities through the investment mandate.
  • And approved financial support for over 1,300 new energy apprenticeships.

... just some of the highlights.

But I want to move on to the road ahead.

We have achieved much but there’s much more to do.


Along with progress, we need to be frank and honest about the challenges ahead.

That is at the heart of this Statement to Parliament – transparency, an open and honest assessment of where we are and where we are going.

Last year I said that our targets were ambitious but achievable.

There were some who called for us to go further – failing to realise that our targets were carefully calibrated, both to achieve emissions reduction and capitalise on the benefits of renewable energy.

The fact is that our targets are ambitious in that they require a big lift in effort over the next seven years.

This year’s Annual Climate Change Statement reinforces this.

Alongside projections, a key part of the Annual Climate Change Statement is consideration of the independent advice of the Climate Change Authority –

The CCA’s advice and our response to it is also made public today, along with the latest emissions projections and the June quarterly update of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, showing our progress in meeting our targets.

Together, these ensure accountability and transparency of the Government’s climate change policies.

The Authority broadly agrees with the Government that our emissions targets are ambitious, but achievable. 

It takes a forensic and comprehensive approach to the work that still needs to be done in both mitigation and adaptation, across every sector of our economy and for the many stakeholders we represent, particularly our First Nations people.  

You will see within the statement itself that we have taken a considered approach in responding to the Climate Change Authority. 

We have carefully considered the CCA’s advice and recommendations, and agreed, agreed-in-principle or noted 39 out of the 42 recommendations.

We have rejected three.

Firstly, the authority recommended the implementation of a fuel efficiency standard – a FES - for new light vehicles that progressively reduces its emissions intensity to zero by no later than 2040.

The Government is committed to the introduction of a FES for new light vehicles, and we are working through the design and implementation to get it right. Australia and Russia are the two developed nations which don’t have a FES for new light vehicles – and without one, Australians will continue to miss out on the cleaner, cheaper-to-run vehicles available elsewhere.

However we haven’t set specific net zero targets for individual sectors and it would be premature to set a target for new light vehicles. We are focused on how to get the best, most fuel-efficient vehicles to Australians so they have real choices and save on petrol.

Second, the authority recommended a cost-benefit analysis on a fuel efficiency standard for heavy vehicles.  But while the government has already put in place Euro 6 noxious emissions standards for heavy vehicles, we do not think a FES would be the best approach to reducing heavy vehicle emissions.

This is largely because there is not an internationally accepted approach to measuring heavy vehicle fuel efficiency. 

Third, the authority recommended that the government work with states and territories on a coordination plan to phase out new and existing gas connections.

The government does not support a national ban on gas connections to new homes. We are empowering Australians with choices, like those offered in our $1.7 billion Energy Savings Package.

We also recognise there are considerable differences across states and territories and that those decisions will be taken by the relevant jurisdictions.

We thank the CCA for their diligent and focused work once again this year.

But it’s unsurprising that the Government doesn’t agree with all their advice or recommendations.

Because while the CCA has been re-empowered, it hasn’t replaced the role of the Executive in climate policy.

Government remains responsible for policy and accountable to the Australian people for its outcomes.

And while we listen carefully to the CCA, we also consider a broad range of policy inputs and implications in each decision we take.


This year’s Climate Change Statement also includes a frank and thorough assessment of the National Security imperative in this transformation.

As the Statement notes, extreme weather events caused by climate change place increased strain on Australia’s energy networks and this fragility could be used by hostile actors.

Dealing with climate extremes is likely to place additional stress on national coordination arrangements and domestic crisis management agencies, stretching Australia’s emergency capabilities that deploy domestically and internationally.

The currently identified national security threats from climate change already present serious risks to Australia and the region, but they will become more severe and more frequent the further warming targets are exceeded.

The relationship between the level of warming and the threats faced is not linear; the threats will compound and expand exponentially the hotter the planet becomes.

Climate change is an existential national security risk to our Pacific partners and presents unprecedented challenges for our region. It is likely to accentuate economic factors already fuelling political instability, including risks to water insecurity across the globe.

Nations most vulnerable to sea level rise are likely to look to Australia and other countries for closer economic integration, including through expanded circular labour mobility schemes and longer-term options for mobility with dignity.

The Australia–Tuvalu Falepili Union is an example of Australia’s commitment to working with the Pacific family to address shared challenges on climate change and security.

Climate is a growing focus within our major security partnerships, including high level discussions at the Australia–US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) and the Australia–UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN).

At AUSMIN last year, new collaboration was agreed to share assessments and advice on national and regional security risks posed by climate change including information sharing between defence departments and establishment of a new Senior Officials’ Working Group on Climate Security Risk.

The National Security imperative just adds to the need for strong action this decade, and reinforces the importance of our domestic transformation and international engagement.

Australia will not sit on its hands, pause the transformation and expect to deploy speculative solutions in 2049 to address a climate emergency that is with us now.


Mr Speaker –

The Government has a clear plan and we are acting to set Australia up to take advantage of the opportunities in a net zero economy.

For jobs and economic growth -

For energy prices and cost of living –

For transforming industry and competing in a decarbonising world.

Our plan is comprehensive but simple:

  1. Delivering cheaper, cleaner, more reliable energy.
  2. Decarbonising our economy.
  3. Establishing Australia as a renewable energy superpower.

Looking at this plan in more detail –

Firstly – we have a laser-like focus on delivering cheaper, cleaner, more reliable energy, including through policies such as Rewiring the Nation and the Capacity Investment Scheme.

We have been upfront about the challenges of reaching 82 per cent – and always said it would be a significant uplift - up from around 33 per cent when we came into Government.

Pleasingly, in the last 12 weeks, renewables have reached 43 per cent in the National Electricity Market.

Yes renewables are critical for driving down energy bills,

Yes renewables are cleaner and important to emissions reduction,

But often overlooked is the fact that this transformation needs to happen for reliability, as much as anything else.

Over recent years we’ve seen eastern states struggle with ageing and increasingly unreliable generators, largely our oldest coal plants that are reaching the end of their technical life.

In 2022, Australia’s coal power fleet suffered thousands of hours of forced outages, leaving the grid short of forecast coal generation capacity for nearly one-quarter of the year.

This month alone we’ve seen half of the country’s largest power station unavailable due to outages.

Expert analysis of coal plant performance finds that the units are collectively unavailable for a much longer period than was the case several years ago.

This isn’t a political view, it’s a practical reality.

And as the Chair of the energy regulator, Clare Savage has said, increasing outages at coal plants are having an impact on prices – and I quote:

“We are seeing that the ageing coal fleet is becoming less reliable. We are seeing quite a number of outages at those power stations, and they're less predictable than they have been before.”

But the regulator also points to the path out – investing in the transition, in more renewables, in transmission, to get to net zero emissions at lowest cost.

As I’ve said, this isn’t a transformation which will happen overnight, or easily.

It’s a whole of economy effort with all levers geared in the same direction.

Mr Speaker –

Earlier I mentioned the Government’s announcement that it would expand the Capacity Investment Scheme, and I think it’s worth a moment to look at exactly what this means.

This is the most significant investment in renewable energy capacity in Australia’s history.

Under the last Government, 24 coal plants with a total capacity of 26.7 GW announced their closure dates, yet no coordinated policy existed to ensure replacement capacity is in place when these retirements happened.

And we saw 4GW of dispatchable power leave the grid with only 1 GW to replace it.

The scheme will supercharge available power in the energy grid, delivering the long-term reliable, affordable and low-emissions energy system Australians deserve as our grid changes. 

This expansion will take the scheme from the current pilot stage to nine gigawatts of dispatchable capacity and 23 GW of variable capacity – for a total of 32 GW nationally.

Delivering more reliable electricity to all Australians.

The second pillar of our plan - decarbonising our economy.

While the Safeguard reforms were significant, a broader, whole-of-economy approach is needed to achieve net zero.

Last year the Climate Change Authority recommended the Government update Australia’s Net Zero 2050 plan and underpin it with plans for our major economic sectors.

We’ve also heard from Australian and international investors that sectoral plans are vital for attracting billions in new investment in decarbonisation in Australia.

As a result, the Government – with support of state and territories, and in consultation with stakeholders – will develop six sectoral plans covering the economy.

Across Electricity and Energy, Industry, the Built Environment, Agriculture and Land, Transport and Resources.

This is a shared endeavour: we must work together to do what’s both possible and practical to stop dangerous climate change and realise the economic opportunities of net zero.

The end result will be plans that are robust, ambitious but achievable, and accepted by the broader community.

And ultimately, help inform a 2035 target, and a proper, detailed plan to get to net zero by 2050.

One measure which will be included in the Transport Plan is the implementation of a Fuel Efficiency Standard.

As I’ve said, the Government is committed to an ambitious standard, that delivers cleaner, cheaper-to-run cars for Australians and real emissions outcomes.

But we also recognise that this is important work, and can’t be rushed.

Finally – the third pillar of our plan – establishing Australia as a renewable energy superpower.

Setting our nation up as a renewable energy superpower will be critical to our continued future as a reliable energy supplier to the world, and as a country that makes things.

It is a central driver of our domestic and international energy conversations.

Properly managed, this is another win-win. 

Our domestic decarbonisation efforts are important. 

But they pale in comparison to the emissions reductions achieved if we are able to harness and export our renewable energy to help countries without our abundant renewable resources to decarbonise. 

And, of course, the economic dividend for our country is enormous. 

With over 97 per cent of our exports going to countries with net zero commitments, our future prosperity depends on how we seize new manufacturing and export opportunities and help our trading partners decarbonise.

Our fundamental comparative advantage in the future is our renewable energy potential – our tremendous solar and wind resources can provide the basis for industries powered by cheaper, cleaner energy. 

Across green hydrogen and ammonia, green metals, refined critical minerals and clean technology manufacturing including battery and solar supply chains. 

Our vision will see more Australian businesses, innovators, and manufacturers becoming a bigger part of the energy transformation both here and abroad. And we’re backing the industries that unlock our renewable superpower ambitions with policies and investments to play to our strengths.


But I want to be honest that even with this plan and Government action, challenges will still remain.

According to the International Energy Agency, more than 500 gigawatts of renewable generation capacity are set to be added in 2023 – a new record.

And more than one billion US dollars a day is being spent on solar deployment.

Between the US IRA,

The European Green Deal Industrial Plan,

Canadian investment tax credits for batteries and clean hydrogen,

And the Green Transformation Act which passed the Japanese Diet earlier this year.

There is a global race for capital –

And while Australia has world-leading resources in solar, wind and critical minerals, as well as a skilled workforce and established manufacturing base, we need to remain competitive to both achieve our domestic goals and establish ourselves as a renewable energy superpower.

Having a clearly articulated plan for the transition is no longer optional, but a baseline expectation of capital markets. 

And that’s exactly what we have.

A clearly articulated, ambitious plan to become a renewable energy superpower:

  • With a transformational scale of renewable build
  • Leveraging our trading and investment relationships abroad
  • Backing our innovative clean energy businesses, exporters and manufacturers.

These things form our signal to the world that Australia is open for business.

As well as clear and ambitious targets – and more detail to come on 2035 and the path to 2050.

Along with this global race for investment is a global fight for supply chains.

We are competing for finite resources– whether it’s wind turbine components or electrolysers.

Of course, a reliable renewable system must be buttressed with robust storage, transmission and where possible, sovereign domestic manufacturing of key elements of the renewable supply chain.

We are carefully designing our policies to achieve this end – but this sovereignty won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen across every element of the supply chain.

While Australia has significant advantages in critical minerals, we remain reliant on international supply chains for critical components in building our transformation.

As the IEA says –

“Soaring prices for energy and materials, and shortages of critical minerals, semiconductors and other components are posing potential roadblocks for the energy transition.”

We are alive to this challenge. Australia will play its role by making more things the energy transformation needs.

And we will strengthen and diversify supply chains to build more resilience by continuing to work with our international partners, including through the Quad.

Both efforts will take time.


Mr Speaker –

COP28 commences today in the United Arab Emirates, and Australia’s achievements and ambition will once again be projected onto the world stage.

But unlike years gone past –

Australians can be proud that there is a Government which not only has a comprehensive plan for action at home, but will be pushing for stronger action globally.

We will be advocating for countries to deliver strong, practical outcomes.

We will be arguing for stronger mitigation language.

We will be supporting a tripling of global renewables capacity and doubling of global energy efficiency efforts. 
And we will be backing in funding arrangements that deliver for the Pacific and the other most climate vulnerable countries, while advocating for contributions from all major economies – not a list set in 1992.

We recognise the positive role that we can play on the international stage and as a good regional partner.

But this needs to be coupled with a domestic transformation, with working towards our targets and ensuring Australia is positioned to take advantage of the jobs, investment and cleaner, cheaper energy which will come with growing renewables.

We’ve done much – but there’s more to do.

And we look forward to another year of real progress for Australia.

Thank you.