The Safeguard Mechanism has been reformed following a
consultation process undertaken by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.
New obligations and reporting requirements apply to Safeguard facility financial years commencing on or after 1 July 2023:
The 2022-23 financial year is the last financial year where Safeguard facilities must comply with pre-reformed Safeguard Mechanism arrangements.
To determine Safeguard facility
Baselines for financial years ending before 1 July 2023:
Safeguard facilities that exceed their baselines for a financial year ending before 1 July 2023 must
manage their excess emissions before
1 March 2024 by either:
There are a range of
enforcement powers available to the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) where a Safeguard facility’s responsible emitter fails to take one of the above actions by the
1 March 2024 compliance deadline.
Safeguard data will be published following the compliance deadline. See
Key dates for more information.
The Safeguard Mechanism commenced on 1 July 2016 and was designed to complement the
ACCU Scheme (formerly known as the Emissions Reduction Fund) by sending a signal to businesses to avoid increases in emissions beyond business-as-usual levels. It achieved this by placing a legislated obligation on Safeguard facilities to keep net emissions below their baseline.
Safeguard facilities that exceeded their baselines were required to manage their excess emissions by either:
Under the original Safeguard Mechanism, all Safeguard facilities had either a:
Reported baselines were made based on the historical high point of emissions reported under the NGER Scheme between the 2009–10 and 2013–14 financial years.
Calculated baselines were based on a facility’s forecast emissions for the year of highest production over a forward, 3-year period.
In 2017, the Australian Government reviewed Australia’s climate change policies, including the ACCU Scheme and Safeguard Mechanism. As an outcome of the review, the Australian Government committed to simplifying the Safeguard Mechanism.
Following the 2017 review, the Safeguard Mechanism was amended in March 2019 to:
The March 2019 amendments established a transition period that covered the 2018-19 and 2019-20 financial years. All Safeguard facilities could apply for a transitional calculated baseline during this period, and use either:
The March 2019 amendments provided that reported baselines would expire on 1 July 2021 for all Safeguard facilities except grid-connected electricity generators:
In September 2019, the Safeguard Rule was amended to extend the application deadline for calculated-emissions baselines starting in the 2018-19 financial year in certain circumstances, and provide facilities with greater access to the new framework established in the March 2019 amendment.
Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Safeguard Mechanism was further amended in May 2020 to extend the transition period by one year to include the 2020-21 financial year.
Across March and October 2020, July 2021, and August 2022 the Safeguard Rule was amended to insert the Australian Government-determined prescribed production variables and corresponding default emissions-intensity values into Schedules 2 and 3 to give effect to the amendments.
In October 2021, the Safeguard Rule was amended to insert a prescribed capture efficiency rate and finalise the implementation of the
landfill baseline approach.
For more information on the previously available reported baselines, production adjusted baselines, calculated baselines, transitional calculated baselines, and landfill baselines, see
Baselines for financial years ending before 1 July 2023.
For information on Safeguard facilities that has been published each year since the scheme commenced 1 July 2016, see
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The Clean Energy Regulator is a Government body responsible for accelerating carbon abatement for Australia.