Andrew Bragg (left), Karen Grogan and David Pocock

A group of senators that includes both major parties and an independent has formed with the goal to identify legislative and regulatory opportunities to hit net zero targets.

The Parliamentary Friends of Clean Investment launched this week with the aim to provide a non-partisan forum for MPs and senators to engage with institutional investors and companies that are accelerating the transition to net zero.

The group includes three senators: the Liberal’s Andrew Bragg, Labor’s Karen Grogan and Independent David Pocock.

The “friendship group” aims to contribute by identifying legislative and regulatory opportunities to hit net zero targets via investment in cleaner technologies and infrastructure.

The group has drawn support from the Investor Group of Climate Change (IGCC) and the Financial Services Council.

The launch of the group included six super fund CIOs who are custodians of $1 trillion on behalf of five million Australians.

In a media release Bragg, who was a policy director at the FSC between 2009 and 2016, identified net zero as a “very important economic objective” for Australia.

“Zero is zero, but it is net zero which is the goal,” Bragg said. “There will still be emissions from things like cement production and farming. These will be offset and Australia has unique advantages given our enormous land mass.”

He added the commitment towards net zero had been “well and truly flagged” by the Liberal Party in government.

“Australia signed onto net zero at the Paris and Glasgow COPs under the Liberal Party,” Bragg said.

Meaningful contribution

Bragg’s contribution to the climate debate in Australia will be meaningful given the strident opposition against net zero transition coming from the Liberal/National coalition. The coalition has also argued against the purpose of super, saying once proposed, the legislation will give the Prime Minister veto over a fund’s investment decision.

Pocock, the former rugby star turned climate activist who won his senate seat in the 2021 federal election, said significant investment will be needed for us to seize the opportunities the energy transition presents to Australia.

“The new Parliamentary Friends of Clean Investment group will help to build links between parliamentarians and those driving positive change from within the financial sector,” Pocock said.