Reducing maritime emissions: What is Australia’s decarbonisation plan?

The Federal Government has ambitions for Australia to be a green energy super-power to help meet our net-zero commitments across the whole economy. The Government has legislated an economy-wide net zero emissions target by 2050.

The Government has developed a Transport and Infrastructure Net Zero Roadmap.

Part of that ‘roadmap’ was a commitment in the May 2023 Budget to work with the maritime industry to develop a Maritime Emissions Reduction National Action Plan (MERNAP). The plan will seek to identify opportunities and future-proof the maritime industry, ensuring Australia can benefit from the global zero emissions transition.

The Albanese government says the MERNAP will set the strategic direction and commitments to actions to decarbonise our maritime transport sector and contribute towards reducing international shipping emissions.

Over the next 12 months, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (the Department) will commence work in partnership with industry to draft a plan that is fit-for-purpose and accelerates Australia’s role in the global green economy.

The Government says that relationships that are established through this process will be key to the ongoing collaboration between government and industry, up and down the value chain in setting, and acting on, an ambitious and practical national action plan.

The Government has responded to industry calls (including WAFIC) and appointed representatives from the domestic commercial fleet (includes fishing vessels) on the MERNAP consultative committee. This will at least ensure any requirements are able to practically applied within the inshore domestic maritime fleet.

The Department has put together a scoping paper that outlines current departmental knowledge and the proposed approach to the development of the MERNAP.

You can read the Department’s approach in the Maritime Emissions Reduction National Action Plan Scoping Paper.