We administer baselines for safeguard facilities. Baselines are the reference point for assessing the facility's annual emissions levels.

The Safeguard Mechanism requires facilities to keep their net emissions at or below their baseline. This means they need to manage any excess emissions.

Types of baselines

A default baseline of 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (tCO2-e) per year applies to all facilities covered by the Safeguard Mechanism unless another type of baseline applies.

The baseline for shale gas facilities is set to ‘zero’ tCO2-e per year.

There are 3 other main types of safeguard facility baselines:

  • standard
  • landfill
  • sectoral.

The sectoral baseline is set at 198 million tonnes of tCO2-e per year and applies collectively to all grid-collected electricity generators.

Both standard and landfill baselines will reduce each year in line with Australia's climate targets.

Baseline decline rate

Standard and landfill facility baselines decline by 4.9% each financial year through to 30 June 2030. This is unless the facility has been declared a trade exposed baseline-adjusted (TEBA) facility. TEBA facility decline rates may be as low as 1%.

The decline rate is applied to baselines using a scaling factor known as the ‘emission reduction contribution’, which represents the total baseline decrease since 1 July 2023.

Financial yearDecline rateEmission reduction contribution

From 1 July 2030 decline rates will be set in 5-year blocks by the Department of Climate Change, Energy the Environment and Water. Read more in the fact sheet on the department’s website.

Standard baseline

Standard baselines are determined based on the amount of product each facility produces in a financial year.

Standard baselines are calculated at the end of each year using the facility’s:

  • production quantities
  • emissions-intensity values for each product it produces
  • decline rate.

Production variables

Standard baseline facilities must:

  • identify each product it produces
  • measure the quantity of product it produces each financial year.

Schedule 1 of the Safeguard Rule defines a range of products produced at safeguard facilities (production variables).

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water's Safeguard Mechanism document can help you identify and measure production quantities.

Emissions intensity

The emissions-intensity for a product is the amount of emissions per unit of production.

The emissions intensity value for each production variable a facility produces depends on whether the facility or its production variables are new or existing as of 1 July 2023:

  • Existing products produced by existing facilities covered by an emissions intensity determination transition from facility-specific emissions-intensity values to industry-average values each financial year through to 30 June 2030.
  • New products produced between 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 by existing facilities covered by an emissions intensity determination are subject to ‘industry-average’ values.
  • New products produced by existing facilities after 1 July 2023 are subject to ‘best-practice’ emissions-intensity values.
  • All products produced by new facilities after 1 July 2023 are subject to ‘best-practice’ emissions-intensity values.

If an existing facility doesn't apply for an emissions-intensity determination for its existing production variables, or its new products produced between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023, it will receive best-practice emissions-intensity values for those production variables.

If the Safeguard Rule does not include a best-practice emissions-intensity value for a production variable, the industry-average value applies until the best-practice value becomes available.


All facilities with the ‘reservoir carbon dioxide from new gas fields’ production variable, regardless of whether the facility is existing or new, receive a ‘zero’ emissions intensity for the production variable.

The facility-specific emissions-intensity for each product produced at a facility will be published on the CER’s website.

Transitioning emissions intensity

The emissions-intensity of existing production variables at existing facilities covered by an emissions intensity determination is transitioning from facility-specific to industry average values.

Facility-specific emissions-intensity values will phase out by the 2029–30 financial year.

Financial year2023–242024–252025–262026–272027–282028–292029–30
Industry-average to facility-specific ratio10:9020:8030:7040:6060:40*80:20100:0

Note: * The transition to industry-average emissions-intensity increases from 10% per year to 20% from the 2027–28 financial year.

Facility-specific emissions-intensity values for existing production variables are calculated based on emissions and production data from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2022.

Apply for an emissions-intensity determination

Existing standard baselines facilities may apply for an emissions-intensity determination to:

  • set the facility-specific value of an existing production variable
  • assign industry-average values to products that were new to the facility between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023
  • have a new production variable be considered a 'related production variable' and use the emission intensity value that has been set for the 'comparative production variable'.

You will receive the best-practice emissions-intensity values for production variables that aren't covered by an emissions-intensity determination.

Applications for emissions-intensity determinations must include an independent audit report.

Learn about the application requirements in our Safeguard Mechanism emissions-intensity determination guideline.

Application deadline

Applications for the 2023–24 financial year (as the first year the determination would apply) are due by 30 April 2024. If you can't meet this deadline, you may apply for an extension.

Applications for later financial years are due by 31 October immediately after that financial year.

Complete the emissions-intensity determination application in Online Services.

Landfill baseline

The landfill baseline applies to waste facilities as they don't have identifiable production variables.

Landfill baselines are calculated using:

  • the amount of non-legacy waste emissions before any capture and oxidation
  • a default methane capture efficiency rate of 37.2%
  • the near-surface methane oxidisation factor in section 5.4(1) of the Determination
  • the decline rate.

Sectoral baseline

The sectoral baseline is a collective baseline for grid-connected electricity generators. This is because the electricity sector behaves like a single entity with the output centrally coordinated to meet demand. 

The sectoral baseline applies to electricity generators connected to Australia's 5 main electricity grids:

  • National Electricity Market
  • South West interconnected system
  • North West interconnected system
  • Darwin to Katherine network
  • Mount Isa-Cloncurry supply network.

The sectoral baseline is 198 million tCO2-e emissions. It's based on the electricity sector's emissions from the 2009–10 to 2013–14 financial years.

A grid-connected electricity generator will receive an additional standard baseline for activities not directly related to electricity generation where they collectively exceed the safeguard threshold. For example, fugitive emissions from coal mining.