Safeguard Mechanism Reforms and Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Western Australia

Alex Gardner, Dylan Williams

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle in specialist publication


The enactment of the Commonwealth’s Safeguard Mechanism reforms in April-May 2023 is the most significant legislative reform in the Australian regulation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) since 2011. The large GHG emitters regulated as designated facilities under the Safeguard Mechanism account for about 28% of Australia’s annual GHGe, and it is essential that there be a means of reducing those emissions in order to achieve the national GHGe reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement, which have been enacted in the Climate Change Act 2022 (Cth). What makes the Safeguard Mechanism reforms significant is that the legislation sets legal limits on combined GHGe of these facilities, and legal duties for the facilities to reduce their emissions each year. The primary purpose of this presentation is to give an overview of the effect of these new limits and duties. A second purpose is to evaluate the interaction of the Safeguard Mechanism reforms with the regulation of GHGe through environmental impact assessment under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA). This process has been used to regulate major projects’ GHGe for more than 20 years. The Commonwealth’s legislation declares that it does not exclude the operation of State law, and the Environmental Protection Authority of WA has issued guidelines declaring its intention to avoid regulatory duplication. How will these two schemes of regulation interact from July 2023?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Specialist publicationBrief
PublisherLaw Society of Western Australia
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023


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