The WA environmental protection agency's advice that new emissions-intensive projects should be carbon neutral has been rejected by the state government.
A recommendation by Western Australia's environmental watchdog that new emissions-intensive projects should be carbon neutral has swiftly been rejected by the state government.
The WA Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday released updated guidelines on mitigating emissions from new or expanding projects, advising the state government require proposals with emissions higher than 100,000 tonnes a year be fully offset.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said on Friday the state government wanted to ensure the gas industry remained strong and had rejected the recommendation.
"We're not endorsing it," Mr McGowan told 6PR radio.
He said he wanted WA to be part of action on climate change but a nationally consistent approach was needed.
The federal government had not put any conditions on coal exports from Queensland or NSW but the proposal could damage WA's economy given it exports a lot of gas, which produces fewer emissions.
"The federal government needs to get off its hands and actually do something," Mr McGowan said.
EPA chair Tom Hatton said the recommendation "does colour the business case" but taking that into account was not the agency's remit.
"The government takes that into account and they weigh our advice against those factors," Mr Hatton told the broadcaster.
Mr Hatton said the agency called for a state climate policy two years ago and the WA government was committed to developing one but had not yet done so.
Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann labelled the recommendation "crazy".
"It would hurt the environment to the extent that it would make it harder for West Australian LNG to help reduce emissions around the world," the WA senator told Sky News.
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA said it had "very strong reservations" about the EPA's advice.
"We think the notion ... has massive potential downside risk," it said.
"These guidelines could do significant damage to the WA economy just as things are starting to look brighter."