Labor and Greens strike deal to establish nature repair market | Environment #Labor #Greens #strike #deal #establish #nature #repair #market #Environment

The Albanese government and Greens have struck a deal to establish a nature repair market in exchange for fast-tracking an expansion of the water trigger to all unconventional gas projects.

The deal would also prevent trades in a new nature market from being used as offsets for other destruction of habitat.

The nature repair market bill would create a market to encourage private spending on projects that protect and restore biodiversity. Businesses would receive tradeable certificates in return for their investment.

The government’s proposal has been controversial and was the subject of a enate inquiry that was not due to report to parliament until next year. Support for the bill had collapsed earlier this year, with the Coalition, Greens and cross benchers indicating they would not back it.

But the committee tabled its report on Monday, with the government bringing on debate of the bill in the senate on Tuesday.

The government still requires the support of at least two cross bench senators or members of the Coalition for it to pass. Debate was continuing on Tuesday evening.

The Greens moved an amendment that would mean trading of credits under the scheme as offsets for habitat destruction caused by other development would not be permitted. The government has indicated it intends to support this amendment.

The inclusion of offsets was a key criticism of the original bill, with conservationists warning a new market meant to restore and increase nature could contribute to its ongoing decline. Concerns had also been raised about whether there was enough investment demand for the scheme to work,

The government has also committed to supporting fast-tracked legislation to strengthen the water trigger so that it applies to all forms of unconventional gas.

The existing water trigger requires the environment minister to consider the impact of large coal and coal seam gas proposals on local water resources. As part of reforms to national environmental laws, the government had promised to expand it to include all types of unconventional gas development, including the shale gas found in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin, where fracking is a looming issue.

Both the Greens and the independent MP Sophie Scamps had urged the government to act sooner and had introduced their own bills calling for the government to expand the water trigger this year.

If the repair market and water trigger bills pass, the environment minister Tanya Plibersek will have successfully negotiated the passage of three pieces of environmental legislation in the final two weeks of parliament.

Legislation to amend the Murray Darling Basin plan passed last week.

“Our nature repair market will make it easier to invest in restoring nature. It will support landholders to do things like replanting koala habitat, excluding livestock to repair natural marshland or eradicating feral species. This is an exciting chance to see extra investment in protecting our environment,” Plibersek said.

“Expanding the water trigger is a sensible change that will make sure that we protect our most precious resource – water.”

The Coalition and cross bench senators criticised the haste with which the bills had been brought on for debate.

The opposition’s environment spokesperson Jonathon Duniam told the senate earlier on Tuesday that environment groups and business stakeholders had told the senate inquiry the parliament should first deal with the broader reforms to Australia’s nature laws.

“But here we are today, having this legislation rushed through, four months of scrutiny cut off completely, with no notice.”

#Labor #Greens #strike #deal #establish #nature #repair #market #Environment

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