Fed Safeguard Mechanism (2016)

Policy Description

The Safeguard Mechanism (SM) was established as part of the federal Emissions Reduction Fund in 2016. The mechanism places a legislated obligation on Australia’s largest greenhouse gas emitters (facilities with direct scope 1 emissions of more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year) to keep net emissions below their emissions baseline. The baseline was initially set based on the highest level of reported emissions for a facility from 2009-14. The federal Government released two consultation papers in March 2018 and September 2018 aimed at bringing emissions baselines up-to-date.

InfluenceMap Query

Emissions Trading; GHG Emission Regulation

Policy Status


Lobbying Overview

  • The evidence collected on corporate and industry lobbying on Australia’s SM from 2014-2020 indicates that the most frequent lobbying position has been ‘Not Supporting’.
  • InfluenceMap did not find any evidence of opposition to the SM, but there were 46 cases of entities lobbying for provisions to weaken the scheme, primarily focused on weakening emissions baselines to protect trade competitiveness. This negative lobbying was carried out by a range of companies and industry associations with Ai Group, APPEA and Minerals Council of Australia the most engaged.
  • InfluenceMap found 35 cases of positive lobbying on the SM, 25 of which were by Carbon Market Institute, which has advocated for declining emissions baselines in line with net zero by 2050 since 2018.

Evidence Profile


Policy Progress

In March and September 2018, the federal Department of the Environment and Energy received over 50 submissions from industry and other organizations to two consultation papers on the operation of the Safeguard Mechanism. In March 2019, the Safeguard Mechanism was updated to bring emissions baselines up to date and allow them to keep pace with business growth, thereby increasing the amount of emissions allowed per facility. The federal government also accepted a recommendation under the King Review to introduce 'Safeguard Mechanism Credits', providing tradeable credits for facilities which reduce emissions below their emissions baselines by undertaking "transformative abatement projects".

Entities Engaged on Policy

The table below lists the entities tracked by InfluenceMap which have publicly engaged with the policy. InfluenceMap tracks around 300 companies and 150 industry associations globally. Each entity links back to the entities’ full InfluenceMap profile, where the evidence of its engagement can be found.

InfluenceMap Performance Band
Carbon Market Institute All Sectors Australia
Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) Energy Australia
Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) Materials Australia
Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) All Sectors Australia
Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) Materials Australia
Woodside Energy Australia
Rio Tinto Group Materials United Kingdom
Australian Industry Greenhouse Network Energy Australia
ConocoPhillips Energy United States
BHP Materials Australia
AGL Australia Utilities Australia
Origin Energy Energy Australia