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The WA Government has put in place a policy working towards net zero greenhouse gas emission targets.

WA Government promises to work with industry to achieve zero emissions target

The WA Government says it will work with industry to find flexible solutions as it aims for net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the State by 2050.

The McGowan Government’s policy on emissions, tabled in Parliament on Wednesday by Energy Minister Bill Johnston, pledges to work with all sectors of the WA economy as it strives to achieve the net zero target.

The policy notes support for “proponents of major new projects or project expansions that emit significant emissions” in “developing greenhouse gas management plans that detail their contribution towards achieving the State’s aspiration.”

Mr Johnston noted the importance of balancing job creation and certainty for business, while working towards environmental goals.

“As a responsible State Government, it is important to ensure that projects have certainty for the long term. Protecting and creating jobs is, and will always be, our number one priority,” Mr Johnston said.

“Industry and the broader community have been calling for more guidance, and this aspiration provides the certainty needed for future major projects.

“It is a sensible and balanced policy, that will allow industry to harness innovation and create jobs here in Western Australia.

“Government will always respect the independence of the EPA. The EPA has historically called for more clarity from Government about its policy on greenhouse emissions – this policy provides that clarity going forward.”

The WA Government has historically supported the Federal Government’s target of reducing emissions by 28 per cent by 2030.

But there have been strong calls from the industry and community for a separate statewide approach to the issue.

Part of this call for certainty at the state level has been the lack of policy mechanisms at the Federal level to help industry plan for a lower emission environment.

With the EPA continuing to make independent recommendations on major projects involving greenhouse emissions, WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson will “have regard” to the new policy in considering approval conditions for major projects.

A broader WA climate policy is currently being developed and will be released in 2020, the government confirmed.

The McGowan Government will be seeking feedback on the implementation of the emissions policy and is keen to understand the impact on business operations. If you are seeking approval on a major project it will be critical to engage with government as early as possible, particularly during the early stages of this policy.

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Main image by Michal Pech on Unsplash