What is the Safeguard Mechanism?

The Safeguard Mechanism requires Australia’s highest greenhouse gas emitting facilities to reduce their emissions in line with Australia’s emission reduction targets of 43% below 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

If a safeguard facility exceeds their baseline, they must manage any excess emissions. Facilities that don't exceed their baselines may be eligible to earn Safeguard Mechanism credit units (SMCs).

Emissions reduction

Safeguard baselines

Learn about the different types of baselines under the Safeguard Mechanism and how they are calculated.
Emissions reduction

Managing excess emissions

Find out how safeguard facilities can manage emissions above their baselines.

Popular topics

Emissions reduction

Safeguard Mechanism credit units

Safeguard Mechanism credit units (SMCs) incentivise safeguard facilities to reduce their emissions beyond their baselines. Learn about SMCs and how to trade them.

Key dates for responsible emitters

Responsible emitters for safeguard facilities must be aware of key reporting and application deadlines each financial year.

Safeguard facility reported emissions data

Learn about what we're required to publish about safeguard facilities' reported emissions each year.

Who it covers

The Safeguard Mechanism applies to facilities that emit more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e) covered emissions a year. This includes:

  • mining
  • oil and gas production
  • manufacturing
  • transport
  • waste.

Covered emissions

Covered emissions are defined as scope 1 emissions, excluding emissions:

Latest annual statistics

Safeguard data from the 2022-23 reporting year.

Read more
Safeguard facilities
million tonnes CO2-e covered emissions
Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) surrendered

The reformed scheme

The Safeguard Mechanism was reformed in 2023. It will be reviewed by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water in the 2026–27 financial year.

Learn about the Safeguard Mechanism before 1 July 2023.

Safeguard and National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting

The Safeguard Mechanism leverages the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) Scheme to minimise additional reporting requirements.

All safeguard facilities must report under NGER. Responsible emitters must apply for NGER registration by 31 August after meeting the safeguard threshold. This includes subsidiaries of a registered controlling corporation’s corporate group.

If a controlling corporation is also a responsible emitter, it does not need to register again.

Our role

We regulate the Safeguard Mechanism by:

  • administering baselines
  • ensuring facilities manage their emissions
  • issuing Safeguard Mechanism credit units (SMCs)
  • publishing safeguard facility data.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water oversees the policy of the Safeguard Mechanism. Read the policy intent on the department’s website.

Safeguard forms

Complete your safeguard application forms in Online Services.

An aerial image of mangroves with a winding river through it.