Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Coal Prohibition (Quit Coal) Bill 2019

Bill home page  


Download WordDownload Word


Download PDFDownload PDF

2019

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coal Prohibition (Quit Coal) Bill 2019

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

and

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority of

Adam Bandt MP



Coal Prohibition (Quit Coal) Bill 2019

 

OUTLINE

 

The mining and burning of coal either in Australia or overseas is the largest cause of climate change. Australia is currently the world’s largest exporter of coal with approximately 85% of the coal mined in Australia exported and burned overseas.

Climate change is already causing significant damage to Australia and around the world. The world scientists have made clear that catastrophic climate change will only be prevented if coal remains in the ground.

It is a critical that the Commonwealth take urgent action to phase out the burning of coal in Australia and the export of coal overseas.

Thermal coal, which is burnt in power stations in Australia and overseas to produce electricity, is now able to be replaced by renewable energy. Metallurgical coal, which is used in the manufacture of steel, will be able to be replaced over time as current technological substitutions develop, but this bill does not apply to metallurgical coal or coking coal.

This Bill will prohibit the mining, burning and the export and importation of thermal coal in Australia by:

·          Prohibiting the establishment of a new coal mine or coal-fired power station or the expansion of existing mines or stations from the date of Royal Assent;

·          Phasing out the export of thermal coal by 2030;

·          Prohibiting the mining or burning of coal after 1 January 2030;

·          Prohibiting the importation of thermal coal to Australia, with the exception of research or heritage purposes;

·          Putting in place significant penalties including up to 7 years imprisonment in some cases for breaches of the Act.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The bill will have no financial impact.

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

. Clause 1: Short Title

1.     This clause provides for the Act to be cited as the Coal Prohibition (Quit Coal) Act 2019.

Clause 2: Commencement

2.     This clause provides for the whole of this Act to commence the day after it receives Royal Assent.

Clause 3: Schedules

3.     This clause gives effect to the Schedules. It provides that legislation that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

Schedule 1—Amendments

 

Customs Act 1901

 

Item 1: Subsection 4(1)

Inserts a new definition into the Customs Act 1901 defining thermal coal as coal that is not coking coal.

Item 2: Section 50

Repeals heading and replaces with 50 Regulations may prohibit the importation of goods.

Item 3: After section 50

This item inserts a new Section 50A into the Customs Act 1901 which prohibits the importation of thermal coal unless the coal is to be used for research, analysis or display.

The exemption for research, analysis or display is used throughout the Act and would include for example geological research undertaken by a university or the use of coal to power heritage steam trains such as Puffing Billy.

Subsection (2) ensures the research exemption is limited in scope and does not allowed for purposes relating to power stations or coal mines.

Item 4: Subsection 51(1)

Inserts the words “or 50A” after “section 50”

Item 5: Section 112 (heading)

Replaces with a new heading; 112 Regulations may prohibit the exportation of goods.

Item 6: After section 12

This item inserts a new section 112AA into the Customs Act 1901 to prohibit the export of thermal coal.

Thermal coal is not able to be exported from Australia unless the thermal coal is exported before 1 January 2030 and permission is granted by the Minister. The Minister is able to grant permission up the thermal coal export limit for that calendar year specified in a table at subsection 7.

Current levels of thermal coal exports are approximately 200 million tonnes per year. The thermal coal export limit will scale down each year until a complete prohibition in 2030.

The exemption for research, analysis or display is allowed.

Subsection (9) allows decisions on permissions to be appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Offences are outlined for contravention of this section.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Item 7: After subdivision FB of Division 1 of Part 3

Item 7 inserts a new Subdivision FC into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 which prohibits thermal coal activities and creates various offences for engaging in such activities.

Thermal coal activities include establishing, expanding, operating or modifying a coal mine; handling, stockpiling, processing or transporting thermal coal; and establishing, expanding, operating or modifying a thermal coal power station.

Item 8: Section 34 (after table item 13J)

Consequential amendment.

Item 9: After section 34E

Inserts a new Section 34E preventing the Minister from making declarations under Section 33 of the EPBC Act in relation to thermal coal activities.

Item 10: At the end of subdivision C of Division 3 of Part 4

Inserts a new Section 37K preventing the Minister from making declarations under Section 37A of the EPBC Act in relation to thermal coal activities.

Item 11: Section 37M

Consequential amendment.

Item 12: At the end of Division 6 of Part 4

Prevent Division 6 of the EPBC Act applying to actions involving thermal coal activities.

Item 13: At the end of section 49

Ensures bilateral agreements in the EPBC Act do not have effect on actions involving thermal coal activity.

Item 14: After paragraph 135(1)(a)

Consequential amendment.

Item 15: At the end of Subdivision B of Division 1 of Park 9

Adds a new Section 141, which enables actions that involve a thermal coal activity to be approved if it is undertaken for research, analysis or display.

Item 16: At the end of Subdivision C of Division 1 of Part 10

Adds a new section 146MA preventing the Minister from approving an action or class of action if the action or class of actions involves a thermal coal activity.

Item 17: After subparagraph 495(2)(a)(via)

Includes offences in relation to thermal coal activity in the EPBC Act.

Item 18: After subparagraph 496C(1)(a)(viia)

Includes offences in relation to thermal coal activity in the EPBC Act.

Item 19: Section 528

Provides a link to the definition of thermal coal and thermal coal activity.

Part 2- Consequential Amendments

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act

Item 20: Section 528 (definition of large coal mining development)

Removes thermal coal activity from the definition of large coal mining development in Section 528 of the EPBC Act.

Part 3 - Application of amendments

Item 21: Application of amendments  

Sets out the time various sections of the Act have application.

The limitations of coal exports begin from July 1 2020. The prohibition on new or expanded coal mines and power stations has immediate application. Existing thermal coal activity such as operating coal power stations and coal mines will be prohibited from 1 January 2030.

Section 22 ensures the bill does not apply to the extent (if any) to which their operation would result in the acquisition of property within the meaning of paragraph section 51 (xxxi) of the Constitution.

 

 

 

 

 



STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Coal Prohibition (Quit Coal) Bill 2019

 

This bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the bill

 

The mining and burning of coal either in Australia or overseas is the largest cause of climate change. Australia is currently the world’s largest exporter of coal with approximately 85% of the coal mined in Australia exported and burned overseas.

Climate change is already causing significant damage to Australia and around the world. The world scientists have made clear that catastrophic climate change will only be prevented if coal remains in the ground.

It is a critical that the Commonwealth take urgent action to phase out the burning of coal in Australia and the export of coal overseas.

Thermal coal, which is burnt in power stations in Australia and overseas to produce electricity, is now able to be replaced by renewable energy. Metallurgical coal, which is used in the manufacture of steel, will be able to be replaced over time as current technological substitutions develop, but this bill does not apply to metallurgical coal or coking coal.

This Bill will prohibit the mining, burning and the export and importation of thermal coal in Australia by:

·          Prohibiting the establishment of a new coal mine or coal-fired power station or the expansion of existing mines or stations from the date of Royal Assent;

·          Phasing out the export of thermal coal by 2030;

·          Prohibiting the mining or burning of coal after 1 January 2030;

·          Prohibiting the importation of thermal coal to Australia, with the exception of research or heritage purposes;

·          Putting in place significant penalties including up to 7 years imprisonment in some cases for breaches of the Act.

 

 

 

 

Human rights implications

 

This bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

 

Conclusion

 

This bill is compatible with human rights because it does not raise any human rights issues other than promoting safety and security of human life by minimising climate damage.

 

 

 

Adam Bandt MP