Zali Steggall MP speaks on her Sea Dumping Bill Amendments

4 August 2023


The only justification for this legislation is if it is genuinely to combat climate change and protect our oceans, and it needs more than just a creative title to do that. As currently drafted, this bill opens the door for gas companies to expand fracking and extraction with the increased emissions offset by the false promise of carbon capture and storage. It is incredibly disappointing to see, given that so many members of the Labor Party have vowed to be fighters for climate change. I question how much debate has been had in the party room in relation to this bill and in relation to these amendments. I should say to the minister that, whilst I appreciate the discussions to date, if time is the issue in relation to consideration of the amendments, then this bill should be delayed for voting until next week so that these amendments and a sound bill can be considered by the House.

These amendments put in the guardrails. If the government is genuine about saying that this is legislation about fighting climate change, then they cannot consider the passing of this legislation without these amendments. The amendment I propose adds two conditions to the minister's consideration when granting a permit to dump carbon dioxide in the ocean or under the ocean floor. The first condition added states that any greenhouse gases removed must result in fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere than if the activity had not occurred, net negative emissions. The second condition states that they must not offset or compensate for new emissions of greenhouse gases. It cannot be a carbon capture and storage project to compensate for the expansion of fossil fuels.