Climate change legislation

The Government of Western Australia is developing climate change legislation to create a framework for the state’s response to climate change.

Climate change legislation will provide certainty for businesses and investors, and enhance the state’s environmental, social and governance credentials.

The legislation will ensure accountability and transparency for government, establishing the state’s long-term target of net zero emissions by 2050 and providing statutory requirements to set interim emission reduction targets and develop policies to reduce emissions and enhance climate resilience. 

The legislation will also require the Minister for Climate Action to report annually to Parliament on Western Australia’s net emissions and progress against the emission reduction targets. 

The development of climate change legislation will underscore the State Government’s commitment to climate action and help attract and accelerate investment and skills needed for the net zero transition.

View the frequently asked questions on the development of Western Australia’s climate change legislation below.

Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of the climate change legislation?

The legislation will create a framework for the State Government’s response to climate change. It will provide certainty for businesses and investors, and enhancing the state’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials.

The legislation will enhance policy credibility by creating statutory requirements for government to set interim emission reduction targets and develop policies to support emissions reduction and enhanced climate resilience.

The legislation ensures accountability and transparency by requiring the Minister for Climate Action to report annually to Parliament on Western Australia’s net emissions and progress against the emission reduction targets.

Why are a legislated target and statutory interim targets important?

Legislation will provide confidence that Western Australia has the stable, clear and necessary policies to reduce emissions and mobilise private sector capital for the net zero transition.

While legislation is not necessary to achieve the McGowan Government’s emissions reduction goals, it will help drive structural change and lower the costs of the transition by enhancing investor and business confidence, and accelerating investment.

What are the main benefits of legislation for Western Australia?

Legislation will send a strong signal about the priorities of this government, enhance the state’s ESG performance and underscore investor confidence.

Legislation will drive investment in clean energy infrastructure and technologies and position the state to become a clean energy powerhouse.

Will legislative and statutory targets create enforceable obligations for industry?

No. The legislation will set out the State Government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and establish requirements for the setting of interim targets for future periods.

These targets will require the State Government to develop and implement policies to achieve relevant targets in combination with Commonwealth policies and programs. This is consistent with the McGowan Government’s approach for the sectoral emissions reduction strategies, which will establish credible and robust pathways for emissions reduction in Western Australia.

Will the target impose costs on business and industry?

Targets do not create obligations for business and industry sectors or for individual facilities, but an enduring framework for policy development, accountability and transparency for government. The increased certainty is likely to minimise any transition costs for businesses and industry.

Interim targets will be developed using policy evaluation and analysis of robust and credible pathways for the whole Western Australian economy.

By unlocking critical investment in clean energy infrastructure and technologies, legislation can help accelerate the transition, reduce costs for business and underpin an orderly transition to net zero emissions.

Does the proposed legislation duplicate or overlap the Australian Government’s legislation?

No. The legislation will optimise Western Australian climate policy settings to support transition of the state’s emissions-intensive industries and regions, and deliver co-benefits for business, communities, and the broader economy.

Western Australia’s legislation will ensure the state is at the forefront of the clean energy transition and leverages the economic opportunity associated with global green finance trends.

When will the legislation be introduced to Parliament?

The development of the legislation is a priority but the exact timing of its introduction to Parliament will depend on drafting progress. It is anticipated that a Bill will be available in late 2023.

Will there be consultation on the draft Bill?

The McGowan Government is committed to effective consultation processes. The nature of consultation, and the stage at which it will occur, have not yet been determined.

Page reviewed 24 January 2023