Sectoral emission reduction strategies - FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions on sectoral emission reduction strategies.
Last updated: 29 March 2023

For more information, please refer to Sectoral emissions reduction strategies.

Why are we developing sectoral emission reduction strategies?

Sectoral emission reduction strategies (SERS) are aimed at supporting the vision in the Government of Western Australia’s Climate Policy ‘to harness Western Australia’s innovation and wealth of natural and mineral resources to achieve net zero emissions and ensure a prosperous resilient future for all Western Australians’ (WA Climate Policy 2020).

The objectives of SERS are to provide robust and credible emissions reduction pathways for Western Australia with tangible actions for reducing emissions consistent with the State Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.

What are SERS?

SERS are implementable plans for reducing emissions which support the State Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050. The strategies will be consolidated in a complementary, holistic package and support robust and credible emission reduction pathways aligned to government targets.

In developing SERS, the State Government will evaluate mitigation options for different sectors, with consideration to costs and benefits, including implications for economic growth and diversification, employment, regional development and Aboriginal engagement.

SERS will support emissions reduction across the whole of the Western Australian economy.

Which sectors will be included?

The State Government has committed to working with all sectors of the economy to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

SERS will address all major sources of emissions. These include emissions from electricity, industry (including resources and manufacturing), transport, buildings, agriculture, waste and land use.

How will sectoral interactions be addressed in SERS?

Activities to reduce emissions in some sectors of the economy will have significant implications for other sectors. For example, electrifying transport or developing a renewable hydrogen industry have the potential to increase electricity demand substantially. This will in turn affect how electricity is supplied and generated, and how demand is managed.

SERS is being developed through a coordinated, whole-of-government process overseen by the Ministerial Taskforce on Climate Action to ensure cross-portfolio issues and opportunities are identified and assessed.

Will all sectors need to completely decarbonise by 2050?

Not necessarily. The availability of cost-effective and technically feasible abatement solutions will vary for different sectors and different industries.

The International Energy Agency’s Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector acknowledges that reducing emissions in some sectors is technically feasible and cost effective, while other sectors will take longer to decarbonise or require the development of new technologies.

The Western Australian Climate Policy is based on a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, which allows for offsetting of residual emissions in the economy in 2050. Carbon offsets are generated from activities such as carbon sequestration in vegetation and soils, and carbon capture utilisation and storage.

Have other jurisdictions done this?

Yes. Most Australian states and territories have developed, or are developing, net zero plans, strategies and interim targets. These include New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Globally, many countries, including key trading partners, have net zero plans. Some of the more detailed plans are being implemented in the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries such as Norway, which like Western Australia has a significant petroleum sector.

International agreements are leading to significant global trade and investment pressures, and intensifying requirements for both the private and public sectors to demonstrate environment, social and governance credentials to remain competitive.

How will SERS be developed?

SERS will be developed through robust modelling of emission reduction pathways based on input from key industry sectors.

The State Government will develop emissions projections based on existing industry decarbonisation plans to develop a forward view of likely emissions to 2035 under current policies.

In addition, the State Government will undertake whole-of-economy emissions modelling to 2050 based on key technology options and costs tested with industry. Together, these analyses will help identify possible emissions pathways for Western Australia and policy options to unlock the state’s abatement potential.

Will SERS be delivered in a staged process or as a consolidated package?

SERS will be delivered as a consolidated package that reflects the abatement potential of each sector, and considers how these intersect at a whole-of-economy level.

SERS will focus on key actions to reduce emissions by 2030, and measures to lay the foundation for transitioning to net zero by 2050.

SERS will be periodically reviewed and updated to align with government targets and emerging technologies.

Some elements of the State Government’s net zero planning are being expedited to assist with infrastructure planning and provide certainty for industry. For example, the State Government has committed to a fast-tracked assessment of future demand for renewable energy in the state’s main electricity network, to understand emerging demands on the network and support local industry’s decarbonisation goals to 2030 and beyond.

Will the State Government commit new funding as part of SERS?

The strategies may include policies, programs, incentives and other measures to drive uptake of existing technologies, enhance collaboration and bring forward future technologies to reduce emissions.

Some current examples are the government’s Clean Energy Future Fund and the Carbon Innovation Grants Program.

Will the State Government set interim targets for SERS?

Consultation and analysis undertaken for SERS will support the State Government’s consideration of appropriate interim targets to provide signals for investment and certainty for business.

Other Australian jurisdictions have interim targets which provide the high-level ambition at the whole-of-economy level for emissions reduction.

Economy-wide targets are not intended as such to create specific obligations for individual businesses, facilities or sectors. Rather, targets would reflect ambitious but achievable goals for emissions reduction at the whole-of-economy level.

Will the State Government introduce a legislated target for emissions reduction?

Climate change legislation will be introduced to Parliament in 2023, which will establish the whole-of-economy target of net zero emissions by 2050.

In addition, it will create statutory requirements for interim targets and the development of strategies and plans to reduce emissions, and enhance climate resilience.  

Legislative frameworks for climate change can help drive investment and accelerate uptake of low-emissions technologies. State-based legislation will provide an enduring framework for the state’s response to climate change and provide policy stability and certainty for business.

A legislated whole-of-economy target will enhance accountability and transparency for the State Government’s climate change policy response, rather than create enforceable obligations for business and industry.

When will SERS be developed?

SERS will be developed between December 2021 and December 2023 and released as a consolidated package.

Who will be involved and what is the focus of consultation?

Key stakeholder groups across sectors including heavy industry, electricity, transport, buildings, agriculture, land use, and waste will be engaged throughout the consultation process.

Consultation will be undertaken with peak industry bodies; research, community, and environment non-government organisations; and companies that have operations in Western Australia with significant greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. entities covered under the Australian Government’s Safeguard Mechanism).

This consultation will provide key inputs to government modelling and deliver insights into important trends, barriers and opportunities for decarbonisation in Western Australia. It will also inform the development of possible new policy and initiatives to support decarbonisation.

When will consultation on SERS be undertaken?

Targeted consultation with peak industry groups started in mid-2022. Consultation on the demand assessment for the South West Interconnected System started in September 2022 and will inform the electricity component of SERS.

Additional consultation with peak groups and key stakeholders across the heavy industry, electricity, transport, agriculture, buildings, waste and land use sectors was undertaken throughout the second half of 2022, with targeted engagement continuing throughout the first half of 2023.

What is the consultation process?

Consultation is engaging with a variety of stakeholders across the Western Australian economy through a process coordinated by the multi-agency SERS Implementation Team, chaired by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

Sector-specific consultation is being conducted by relevant agencies. This includes:

  • Energy Policy WA, leading the electricity component of SERS
  • the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, leading the heavy industry component of SERS
  • the Department of Transport, leading the transport component of SERS
  • the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, leading the agriculture component of SERS
  • the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, leading the waste and buildings components of SERS.

Given the range of stakeholders and issues relevant to SERS, consultation is taking various forms including one-on-one consultation, industry meetings, forums and questionnaires.

Is SERS being developed with industry?

Yes. Consultation and collaboration with industry is critical to development of credible and robust emissions pathways and effective policy options.

The State Government recognises the significant expertise within the business community, and action underway to reduce emissions and meet ambitious corporate targets.

Engagement with business, industry and other key stakeholders will inform the development of new initiatives for SERS. Consultation is providing key insights into important trends, barriers and opportunities for decarbonisation in Western Australia.

There will be an emphasis on government and industry partnerships to address the shared challenge, leverage opportunities and ensure SERS deliver credible and practical emissions reduction pathways.

How can industry and the wider community get involved?

Stakeholders can register to receive email updates on the SERS webpage. To find out more please see our Western Australian Climate Policy.

Will SERS add a regulatory burden or cost for industry?

SERS is not intended to create a regulatory burden for business.

Policy development through the SERS aims to reduce barriers to emissions reduction and support business and industry to meet the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Will SERS duplicate the role of the Australian Government?

SERS will be designed to complement the national emissions reduction framework. The State Government will develop SERS by taking into account both Australian Government policies and the measures of other states and territories, to ensure the strategies are complementary, nationally harmonised where appropriate, and aligned to strategic State Government objectives.

Will SERS duplicate the Australian Government’s revised safeguard mechanism?

The State Government will ensure new initiatives developed under SERS are complementary to reforms to the Safeguard Mechanism.

Consultation with industry stakeholders will enhance the State Government’s understanding of barriers to emissions reduction, including challenges in meeting obligations imposed by new Australian Government measures.