Research points to 'unlikely' need for new coalmines
Negotiations over the federal government's signature climate policy are continuing as the Greens hold firm on a push to ban new coal and gas mines in exchange for their vote.
A bill to establish a contentious "safeguards mechanism" policy is expected to pass the lower house when parliament returns but the government needs the Greens and two extra votes to get it through the Senate.
The mechanism, which applies to the 215 biggest emitters in the country, aims to reduce emissions by 205 million tonnes by 2030.
But the Greens have said they will support the proposal if the government commits to a ban on new coal and gas projects.
The minor party commissioned a Parliamentary Library research brief on domestic coal demand and supply, which found existing mines in Australia were "adequate" to meet coal-fired electricity demand through to 2040.
The brief said it was "unlikely" new coalmines would be needed to keep up with expected electricity demands.
"If additional domestic supply was required, there is ample available product in the export-bound production to supplement any shortfall," the brief said.
Greens leader Adam Bandt said the research showed new coalmines were not needed to maintain power supplies.
When coupled with research by the Australia Institute think tank, which showed new gas wasn't needed to meet domestic demand, Mr Bandt said the Parliamentary Library brief confirmed no new coal or gas projects were needed to keep the lights on.
"Labor is yet to give any convincing explanation why they want to open new coal and gas mines in a climate crisis when Australia already has enough of both," he said.
"We have offered to support Labor's safeguard mechanism, despite all its faults, if Labor stops opening up new coal and gas.
"Coal and gas are the biggest causes of the climate crisis and we simply do not need any more."
Trade Minister Don Farrell said while he hadn't been involved in negotiations to get the safeguard proposal through the Senate, he was optimistic that "common sense" would prevail.
"There's a recognition that we're the government, we took a set of policies to the last election (and) we're seeking to implement those policies with the support of the Australian people," he told Sky News.
"We should be optimistic that these changes will get through and we'll deal with these issues of safeguards."