Australian Climate Policy

Australia’s climate policy environment is a changing landscape, at local, state and federal levels. From coast to coast there are a range of different frameworks, structures and mechanisms that are in place to constrain or drive down emissions in the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

We have painted a picture of this landscape, covering what Australian governments are doing at the Commonwealth and State levels, and how these policy suites interact on the global stage. Understanding this suite of policies can help Australian business better understand the risks and opportunities that we face in the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

For Australia to meet its 2030 Paris Agreement target of 26% – 28% emissions reduction below 2005 levels, our existing suite will need to evolve to drive emissions below business as usual.

As a key, constructive and independent market voice in the policy discussion, CMI continues to put forward various ways that domestic policy could evolve to meet our targets, and create economic opportunities at home and abroad.

Federal Policy

Australia’s climate policy suite

The Australian Government’s climate change response consists of a suite of complementary policies designed to drive emissions reduction in line with Australia’s domestic targets and international obligations under the Paris Agreement. Policies covers a broad range of frameworks including those relating to carbon farming, industrial emissions reductions, renewable energy supply, electricity generation, as well as a national focus on investment and economic regulation. These policies have emerged as an enduring framework under former Environment Minister, Hon Greg Hunt MP. The current Morrison Government has merged Energy and Emissions Reduction into one portfolio, allowing for potentially closer linkages of climate change and energy policies over time.

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Hon Angus Taylor MP oversees the delivery of the below suite of climate change policies; this also includes oversight and direction of the following four statutory and regulatory bodies: Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Clean Energy Regulator and the Climate Change Authority.

SUBMISSION: 2019 Climate Change Authority (CCA) Review - Meeting the Paris Agreement submission

This submission affirms that CCA should build on its 2016 recommendations, including the rejection of Kyoto carryover credits and the support of stronger post-2020 Safeguard baselines. Click Here

Policies, frameworks & industry positions


Read the key policies that form the Australian Government’s Direct Action Plan, as well as other issues and considerations that take into account the position of industry on how existing policies should evolve to enable emissions reduction across the economy, and creation of economic value through linkage with international markets.

State Policy

State action on climate

Australian state and territory governments have made many policy responses to climate.

International Engagement

Australia’s aid, trade & diplomacy

The Australian Government’s international response coalesces around its 2030 target of reducing emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030, which forms the foundation of its Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement (Australia’s national 2030 emissions reduction target).

Further to this target the Government, predominantly through the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, engages in resilience and development activities to support the climate mitigation and adaptation of allies in the Asia Pacific region – particularly low lying Pacific Island nations. This includes support through direct aid, capacity building and facilitating through bilateral relationships the trade of low-carbon products and services into the region.

Australia is aligning these aid, trade and diplomatic relationships to effectively support the transition to a global zero-carbon economy.

COP 25 Madrid Key takeaways

This was the longest COP in history, extending some 44 hours after scheduled closing. It was attended by nearly 27 000 delegates. This included a large private sector presence, eager to understand the implications of negotiated carbon market rules. Click Here

Global frameworks & market positioning


Below are some of the key policies that form the Australian Government’s Direct Action Plan. Also noted are other issues and considerations that take into account the position of industry on how existing policies should evolve to enable emissions reduction across the economy and the creation of economic value through linkage with international markets.