The Net Zero in Government Operations Strategy describes the approach for implementing the Australian Government’s commitment to achieve net zero in government operations by 2030. The Strategy was launched on 28 November 2023.
This target was included in Australia’s Nationally Determined Contribution Communication 2022 under the Paris Agreement. The Australian Government reaffirmed this ambitious target when it was one of 19 global partners to launch the Net Zero Government Initiative at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties meeting (COP27) in November 2022, and published its roadmap at COP28 on how it will reach net zero government operations through the Strategy.
A 2026-27 mid-term review will consider overall progress to date, domestic and international expectations at that time on climate action in government operations, and any recommended changes to policy or strategy to ensure the Government is still meeting its commitment to demonstrate leadership.
The Net Zero in Government Operations Strategy supersedes the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations policy.
2030 target – policy scope
Net zero broadly refers to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a combination of energy efficiency, renewable energy and other measures, and usage of offsets. Progress towards and the achievement of the net zero target will be calculated at the aggregate level of all included entities, with annual reporting supporting scrutiny on individual entity performance.
The Australian Public Service (APS) Net Zero 2030 target includes non-corporate Commonwealth entities. At this stage, the target includes scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. Decisions on scope 3 will be made in the future as data becomes available.
Corporate Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies can declare they will meet the 2030 target or are encouraged to declare their own net zero targets. The PGPA Act Flipchart provides details on Commonwealth entities and companies.
Security agencies will take action to reduce their emissions aligned with the Net Zero in Government Operations Strategy, and will set emissions reduction targets where this does not compromise operational and capability requirements.
Activities by Commonwealth entities that take place outside of Australia or its territories, including international air and marine travel, are not included in Australia’s Nationally Determined Contribution and are not included in the APS Net Zero 2030 target or subject to the Net Zero in Government Operations Strategy. Entities that undertake these activities will act as appropriate to reduce their emissions in the relevant local context as an aspirational goal for the Australian Government to demonstrate leadership and advance Australia’s climate diplomacy objectives.
Actions to reduce emissions
The Net Zero in Government Operations Strategy contains rules and guidance for entities. Consistent with other Australian Government public sector policies and frameworks, the Net Zero in Government Operations Strategy is a devolved framework and has been designed such that entities are responsible for identifying and implementing necessary action to support the Government’s commitment, assisted by the Department of Finance.
The Strategy sets out practical actions required to reduce emissions, including from electricity, buildings and energy efficiency, procurement, vehicle fleet, business travel, computing and data systems and driving change through people, culture and capability. This will be complemented by guidance from the Department of Finance that will further explain obligations and provide practical advice for implementation and achieving net zero.
The Strategy is also designed to support and integrate with existing whole-of-Australian-Government policies and frameworks, such as the Commonwealth Procurement Framework and Commonwealth Property Management Framework. These are being progressively updated to reflect net zero considerations and should be considered jointly for relevant decisions.
APS capability uplift
The Climate Action in Government Operations Unit in the Department of Finance will support capability uplift across entities, including through advice, guidance, tools, case studies and training programs. General information and guidance will be shared through this website and the Climate Action in Government Operations GovTEAMS community.
The Climate Action in Government Operations Unit can also provide practical advice in relation to specific actions or projects, such as improving the energy efficiency of buildings or matters to consider in new bespoke builds. Similarly, other areas of the Government will produce relevant materials, including climate impact assessments for new policy proposals.
For those working on APS Net Zero within their entity, access to the GovTEAMS community is available on request. Please email APSNetZero@finance.gov.au for an invitation.