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Question Time: Why is Labor Approving New Gas?

On Monday 6 March 2023, I asked the Environment Minister why the Labor Government approves an increase in fracking, making the climate crisis worse. You can watch the full exchange here or read the full transcript below.

E WATSON-BROWN: My question is to the environment minister. Recently you quietly issued, late on a Friday afternoon, your decision to approve Labor Party donor Santos a license to frack 116 new gas wells in Queensland until 2077. The International Energy Agency recently showed that Australia's methane emissions from coal and gas could be 60 per cent higher than now accounted for. Why are you approving new gas wells that will make the climate crisis worse?

T PLIBERSEK: I think the first thing to say is that imputation is unworthy and insulting. The second thing I would like to point out to the honourable member is that the project she is talking about is a 1.3 per cent expansion of a project that has been going for eight years. To listen to the member opposite you'd think it was something quite different. But I will say to the Greens, as they're sitting there feeling self-righteous, that the very best thing the Greens political party could do if they were really interested in climate change in this country is back the government's safeguard mechanism.

Those sitting up there in that corner should not make the same mistake they made in 2009 when they voted with Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce to block action on climate change, because what they delivered last time was more omissions for longer and a Liberal government. That's what they delivered last time.

I am proud of what we're doing on this side of the parliament. It's the Albanese Labor government that is delivering real action on climate change with a legislated path to net zero emissions, with a pledge on methane, with real action to protect the ozone layer, with $20 billion to rewire the nation so we can put more renewable energy into our electricity market, with $3 billion in the National Reconstruction Fund to support low emissions technologies. Are you going to vote for that? Are you going to vote for the $3 billion for low-emissions technologies? Why don't you answer that question?

The best thing that those opposite can do if they sincerely want to see real action on climate change is support the government's safeguard mechanism. Don't make the same mistake as in 2009; back the National Reconstruction Fund and get on board our measures for addressing climate change.

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