IPA Today

IPA Research: Labor’s Net Zero Bill To Open Green Lawfare Floodgates – $100BN In Projects At Risk

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18 August 2022

“Labor’s net zero legislation will unleash a torrent of legal activism by green groups that risks shutting down critical natural resources projects at the time Australia is in the midst of an energy crisis” said Daniel Wild, the Deputy Executive Director at the Institute of Public Affairs.

The Institute of Public Affairs has released two research reports identifying how the Albanese Government’s proposed Climate Change Bill 2022 will expand the scope for green activists to challenge approvals for critical resource projects, and the economic consequences of green lawfare.

“International precedent in Britain and New Zealand shows how legislating net zero makes more activist litigation a certainty. Under the proposed legislation, almost every single major resources project in the planning and construction pipeline is at risk of being cancelled by green activist lawfare,” Mr Wild said.

In anticipation of the Labor’s net zero laws being passed, green activist groups, the Environment Council of Central Queensland and Environmental Justice Australia, have already called for the Federal Minister for the Environment to reconsider approvals already granted to 19 critical resources projects around Australia.

IPA research has identified that the 19 projects on the green groups hit list will, at a minimum:

  • Impose an economic cost of $101 billion.
  • Risk cancelling 175,000 jobs
  • Impose the greatest cost on regional Queensland, with 14 of the 19 projects located in North and Central Queensland.

Under Labor’s legislation, Ministerial approval of major projects, such as coal mines, dams, and infrastructure, would now require consideration of how those projects may impact on Australia’s legislated commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.

“Activists already use special legal privileges to run their campaigns in courtrooms, a legislated net zero target will further embolden them to use our courts to seek to block, delay or cancel projects they do not agree with,” Mr Wild said.

“Labor’s net zero legislation is a nightmare for regional communities that depend on major natural resources projects for their economic security and survival.”

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Daniel Wild

Daniel Wild is the Deputy Executive Director at the Institute of Public Affairs

Morgan Begg

Morgan Begg is the Director, Legal Rights Program at the Institute of Public Affairs

Kevin You

Dr Kevin You is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs

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