ESG Snapshot: Issue 28

ESG Snapshot: Issue 28

Highlights in this week's issue include:

  • What to expect. A list of key federal developments coming up in 2024.
  • Esso seeks CCS approval. ESSO has made a referral for a CCS project that would be a competitor to the Victorian government-led CarbonNet.
  • Climate audit. The federal Auditor-General has examined DCCEEW's climate program governance arrangements.
  • Court rulings. Environmentalists have lost two cases in Australia's Federal Court, while Greenpeace has had a major court win in Norway.

Interested in working with Myer, KPMG, EY, GPT Group, or in a public sector role? Check out this issue's jobs board!


Although DCCEEW reports annually on progress towards climate targets, it can't demonstrate the extent to which specific programs will contribute towards overall emissions reductions, according to the Australian National Audit Office.

The ANAO audit report on DCCEEW governance arrangements notes that high-level oversight of work on net-zero sectoral plans is being provided by the Net Zero Senior Officials Committee and the Net Zero Secretaries Committee.

The sector plans, which will feed into a new national 'net zero by 2050' plan and Australia's 2035 target, will then be put to the Net Zero Economy Committee of Cabinet for consideration, the audit report notes.

Court ruling. The Federal Court has rejected arguments by a group of Tiwi Island elders that a proposed Santos pipeline from the Barossa field to Darwin would significantly harm their cultural heritage.

Court ruling. The Federal Court has rejected arguments by the North East Forest Alliance that the NSW North East Regional Forest Agreement is invalid.

The federal government will provide a $70 million grant to help develop the Bell Bay hydrogen hub in Northern Tasmania, which will produce 45,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen a year – enough to fuel over 2,200 heavy vehicles annually.

The Tasmanian government is leading a consortium of partners, including TasPorts, TasNetworks, TasWater, TasIrrigation and the Bell Bay Advanced Manufacturing Zone, to deliver the project.

Bell Bay is well-suited for a hydrogen hub because of its deep-water port and the state's 100% renewables electricity grid.

Hydrogen hub projects in Kwinana, the Hunter, Gladstone, and Port Bonython have previously been awarded federal funding.

The federal and NSW governments will each allocate $87.5 million over four years for energy efficiency upgrades in the state's social housing.

Meanwhile, a $16.6 million partnership between the federal and Tasmanian governments will fund energy upgrades in more than 1,600 social housing properties, equivalent to about 11% of the state's social housing.

Open consultations:

  • Mandatory climate risk disclosure. Comments on a draft Bill on climate-related financial disclosure would phase in requirements for companies, super funds, and NGER reporters to prepare annual climate statements are due by 9 February.
  • Offshore projects. The federal government is canvassing views on consultation requirements for assessing offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage activities. Submissions close on 23 February.

What's coming up in 2024:

  • The introduction of EPBC Act reform legislation, which is expected to involve a package of four Bills.
  • The issuance of the government's first sovereign green bond (expected mid-year).
  • Release of the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner's review of community engagement practices for renewables infrastructure (the report is currently with the government).
  • Finalisation by AEMO of its latest Integrated System Plan (by mid-2024).
  • The mid-year start of consultation on a proposed mandatory packaging design regime that would be legislated and operational by the end of 2025.
  • Passage of legislation to formally establish the Net Zero Economy Authority, which is currently operating informally.
  • Completion of a National Energy Workforce Strategy.
  • Finalisation of a First Nations Clean Energy Strategy.
  • Finalisation (in late 2024) of the Climate Change Authority's advice to government on a 2035 emissions target.
  • The introduction of legislation to establish a regime of climate-related financial disclosure.
  • Finalisation of a Maritime Emissions Reduction National Action Plan.
  • The introduction of legislation to further strengthen the ACCU regime.
  • Completion of the carbon leakage review, which is considering the merits of a carbon border tariff (third quarter 2024).
  • Release of the Future Gas Strategy.
  • Finalisation of Australia’s first National Climate Risk Assessment and National Adaptation Plan (late 2024).
  • Hosting of the first Global Nature Positive Summit in October.
  • The launch of a new register of carbon units, and potentially a new carbon exchange market, with work being led by the Clean Energy Regulator.
  • Preparation by all federal government entities of long-term emissions reduction plans (by June).
  • Preparation of a cost benefit analysis for a Fuel Efficiency Standard for heavy vehicles by the end of the year, and the completion of a review of barriers to the uptake of zero emissions trucks.
  • The start of a new requirement (from FY25) that at least half of all new bilateral and regional official development assistance investments valued at more than $3 million will have a climate change objective, with a goal of reaching 80% in FY29.

Grant opportunity - recycling. The state government has launched a $10 million ReMade in Queensland (ReMiQ) funding round, which will help small and medium-sized manufacturers and recyclers to adopt processes that reuse materials that are otherwise destined for landfill.

Applicants can submit an Expression of Interest for grants of between $50,000 and $2.5 million, with submissions due by 19 February.

Open consultations:

New South Wales

Open consultations:

  • Plastics. Comments are due by 4 February on a discussion paper on plastics released by the EPA.

The ACT has become the first jurisdiction to adopt all provisions of the latest (2022) version of the National Construction Code, including the requirement that all new houses have a 7-star equivalent energy rating.


The state government has accepted a referral by Esso for a pipeline that would connect to a proposed carbon capture and storage project off the coast of Gippsland.

Esso's South East Australia CCS hub would initially store CO2 in the depleted Bream field off the coast of Victoria's Gippsland coast.

The CO2 pipeline would be 19 kilometres long, and the shore end of it would be located near the Longford gas conditioning plant.

The CO2 stream available for injection - which is currently separated and vented from the Longford plant - is forecast to average about 0.5 million tonnes annually, with a cumulative injection of approximately 3 million tonnes. The referral also encompasses some changes at the Longford plant.

This initial phase would provide a foundation for potential future expansion, to allow for the injection and storage of CO2 from third party sources.

The Bream reservoir ceased production in September 2020, after more than 30 years of production.

Open consultations:

  • Waste to energy. Comments are sought by 2 February on proposed regulations on Victoria's thermal waste-to-energy cap licensing system.

The state government has released a Conservation Action Plan for the endangered Maugean skate, which is found only in the state's Macquarie Harbour.

Grant opportunity - methane. The state government is inviting applications by 29 February for grants to support trials of methane-reducing animal feed supplements. A total of $4 million is on offer.

Open consultations:

  • Environmental impact assessment. The state government is consulting on environmental impact assessment processes for projects on reserves managed by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service. Comments are due by 8 March.

Open consultations:

  • Biodiversity. Comments are due by 14 February on a discussion paper on the state government's proposed introduction of a new Biodiversity Act.
Western Australia

The EPA has received a referral from Province Energy Ltd for its HyEnergy green hydrogen and ammonia export project near Carnarvon, that would incorporate up to 6.8 GW of wind and up to 5.2 GW of solar.

Open consultations:

  • Chemicals. The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is seeking comment by 5 February on draft regulations to implement the federal Industrial Chemicals Environmental Management Standard (IChEMS) in WA.
Northern Territory

In line with advice from the NT EPA, the NT government has given environmental approval to the Santos Darwin Pipeline Duplication Project, which will bring gas from the Barossa field to Darwin for processing.

The pipeline duplicates a section of the existing Bayu-Undan pipeline, which is proposed to stay in place to provide Santos with the option of repurposing it to transport CO2 to the depleted Bayu-Undan reservoir for sequestration.

Events, jobs, company news, and key international developments are listed below.

ESG Snapshot is distributed to C-suite executives and sustainability and climate professionals in companies and organisations that are members of BCSDA, which is the local network partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. For membership enquiries, contact ESG Snapshot is available to BCSDA non-members on a six-week trial basis.

BCSDA welcomes enquiries from organisations and companies interested in distributing ESG Snapshot under their own logo to their members, clients or suppliers.
February 5, ANU Climate update. An online event.
February 6, WA Clean energy conference. A conference in Perth, hosted by the Clean Energy Council.
February 8, Circular economy masterclass. An online event hosted by the Green Building Council of Australia.
February 13 and 14, The Australian energy and battery storage conference. An event in Sydney, hosted by Informa.
February 14 to 16, Sustainable industrial manufacturing. An event in Brisbane, hosted by Quartz Business Media.
February 15, Mastering marketing automation. A one-hour webinar hosted by BCSDA member Swift Digital.
February 19 and 20, Queensland energy. An Informa conference in Brisbane.
February 21 and 22, The Hunter new energy symposium , hosted by NewH2.
February 26 and 27, Stakeholder capitalism and ESG. A Sydney conference hosted by Kruzade Events.
February 26 and 27, Australian offshore wind conference. An Informa conference in Melbourne.
March 6 and 7, Smart energy expo 2024. An event in Sydney hosted by the Smart Energy Council.
Jobs Board
The City of Sydney is recruiting a sustainability operations coordinator.
The federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has vacancies in its sustainability, climate and strategy division.
Victoria's Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action is hiring a farm emissions action officer.
Tasmania's Department of State Growth is recruiting a principal policy analyst, climate change.
EY has a vacancy for a Melbourne-based sustainability assurance manager.
The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board is hiring a program manager, climate resilient landscapes.
GPT Group is seeking a Sydney-based sustainability analyst.
JLL has a vacancy for a Sydney-based sustainability analyst.
KPMG is hiring a Sydney-based sustainability assurance manager.
Myer has a vacancy for a Melbourne-based sustainability coordinator.
WesTrac is seeking a Newcastle-based senior ESG advisor.
Company news and resources
The international Electrolux Group has set a new science-based climate target, after the Group achieved its previous science-based target three years ahead of plan. 

Electrolux aims to reduce the company's scope 1 and 2 emissions by 85% from 2021 levels by 2030, and to reduce its absolute scope 3 emissions (use of sold products, materials, transport of products and business travel) by 42% over the same period. 
Members of the global First Movers Coalition, which was founded at COP26 and leverages the purchasing power of its members to help decarbonise key sectors, have so far signed 94 offtake agreements to buy emerging climate technologies from qualified suppliers.

The Coalition now has more than 90 members, including Fortescue.
Greenhill Energy is planning a $425 million project in South Australia that will convert landfill waste and biomass into fertilisers, synthetic fuels, and hydrogen.

The EU Parliament has endorsed a new anti-greenwashing directive that will improve product labelling and ban the use of misleading environmental claims.

Greenpeace Nordic and Young Friends of the Earth Norway have secured a significant win against the Norwegian government, with the Oslo District Court ruling the approvals of three North Sea oil and gas fields were invalid, in part because the impact of the combustion of the oil and gas had not been considered. The decision can be appealed.

Members of the International Council on Mining and Metals, which represent a third of the global industry, have adopted five new nature commitments, including a pledge to achieve at least no net loss of biodiversity at all mine sites by closure. ICMM members include Alcoa, BHP, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Glencore, and South32.

The World Economic Forum's Transitioning Industrial Clusters initiative has released its latest annual report. The 20 signatory clusters are spread across 10 countries on four continents.

The European Parliament and Council have reached provisional agreement to strengthen CO2 emission standards for new heavy-duty vehicles.

Australian news items in all issues of ESG Snapshot can be searched by relevant Sustainable Development Goal category. To do this, click on the '17 SDGs' link at the top of this web page, or on any of the SDG keys below.

Click to search via SDG

SDG 10
SDG 11
SDG 12
SDG 13
SDG 14
SDG 15
SDG 16
SDG 17