Media Releases - 15 November 2023

Australian oceans to become a dumping ground for fossil fuel waste after Sea Dumping Bill passes Senate

The upper house has passed the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Amendment (Using New Technologies to Fight Climate Change) Bill 2023, which will make Australia the world’s dumping ground for fossil fuel waste. The new law will allow carbon pollution to be imported from other countries and buried in Australia’s oceans.

Known as carbon capture and storage, burying fossil fuel waste underwater is not a proven or effective approach for reducing carbon emissions. The Wilderness Society says that the legislation could actually reduce pressure on the fossil fuel industry to constrain emissions right now. Instead, with a dumping ground for refuse secured, the law may encourage investment and infrastructure that allows harmful emissions to continue.

More disappointing still, is that the government prioritised this law within its environmental legislative agenda ahead of advancing effective, future focused federal nature laws that would actually help the environment—and that are desperately needed.

Sam Szoke-Burke, Biodiversity and Policy Campaign Manager, said, “That this Bill has sailed so easily through parliament is a disappointing reflection of the federal government’s priorities.

“The idea of Australia welcoming global fossil fuel waste into our precious and already struggling oceans is beyond disappointing. The fact that the Albanese government pushed this law through, ahead of honouring its election commitments to enact meaningful and effective nature law reform, is especially bleak.”