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Controlling our Emissions, Protecting the Environment and Encouraging Investment

Office of the Chief Minister

The Territory Labor Government has today released the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Management for New and Expanding Large Emitters policy (Large Emitters Policy). It has also released a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Offsets Policy for public comment.

These policies continue to build on the modern and effective environmental regulatory framework the Territory Labor Government has created; which supports jobs and protects our unique environment into the future.

Release of these policies is another key achievement in government’s work towards responding to the impacts of climate change. They form part of a suite of initiatives that are being implemented to achieve a net zero emissions by 2050 target, that also includes development of an overarching Emissions Reduction Strategy for the Territory.

The Large Emitters Policy identifies the Government’s minimum requirements for how greenhouse gas emissions are to be managed from new, or expanding, industrial and land use development projects. It will give proponents greater certainty about government’s expectations and will assist the Minister for Environment to consistently and transparently fulfil statutory obligations that require emissions to be managed appropriately.

Under the policy ‘large greenhouse gas emitters’ are either an industrial project such as petroleum and mining; or a land use project that involves the clearing of native vegetation. Thresholds have been set at:

  • Industrial project threshold: 100 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in any financial year over the life cycle of a project. This threshold aligns with other Australian jurisdictions.
  • Land use project threshold: 500 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent generated from a single land clearing action, or cumulatively from multiple land clearing actions over time.

The Large Emitters Policy applies from the date its release to all development projects that exceed one of the thresholds, including onshore petroleum activities. It will contribute to the Territory Government’s implementation of the recommendations of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory.

Projects that exceed one of the thresholds will be required to develop a Greenhouse Gas Abatement Plan. The plan must set out the expected emissions from the project and demonstrate how the project will meaningfully contribute to the Territory’s net zero emissions target.

Greenhouse gas emissions offsets are one tool that proponents can used to deliver their emissions target. The draft Greenhouse Gas Emissions Offsets Policy has been developed to establish how and when to use offsets in the Territory to compensate for emissions.

The draft Emissions Offsets Policy provides information for:

  • decision makers - to help them determine when offsets should be required, and the amount of offsetting that should be required
  • proponents - to help them understand when offsetting is likely to be required and develop offsetting proposals
  • regulators - to help them ensure that offsetting requirements are delivered.

Submissions on the draft offsets policy can be made until Friday 15 October 2021.

To view both these policies visit: climatechange.nt.gov.au

Quotes from the Minister for Environment, Eva Lawler:

“To continue to grow our economy and bolster private investment, strong environmental safeguards need to be placed. Creating and supporting jobs is important in creating a $40 billion Territory economy by 2030.

“The Large Emitters Policy we have released today applies to all development types, including those involving land clearing. The Territory’s net zero emissions target is economy wide, so all sectors need to contribute to achieving it.

“The draft Emissions Offsets Policy complements the Large Emitters Policy and provides opportunity and flexibility for the Territory to achieve the net zero target by 2050. It has been designed to increase the demand for carbon credit generation in the Territory and to facilitate the growth of the Territory’s carbon industry – delivering more jobs in regional and remote areas of the Territory.

“These policies are the most comprehensive of their kind in Australia. They will put the Northern Territory at the forefront of providing certainty to industry while ensuring that real action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Territory Labor Government understands that a strong economy relies on a healthy environment and our unique environment needs a specific Territory approach.”