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Climate Change Authority Annual Report 2012-13

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I am pleased to present the Climate Change Authority’s first annual report.

The Climate Change Authority was established on 1 July 2012 under the Climate Change Authority Act 2011 (Cth).

The Authority’s role is to provide advice to the Australian Parliament, through the Climate Change Minister, on climate change policy that is in the best interests of the Australian community. Its advice aims to be robust, practical and insightful.

The Authority has enjoyed a highly productive first year. The agency achieved a number of important milestones, most significantly completing the first review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) within only six months of establishment.

Under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 the Authority is required to conduct a review of the RET every two years. The Authority released an issues paper in August 2012 and recieved almost 8 700 submissions in response. The Authority released a discussion paper in October 2012 and held targeted stakeholder roundtables.

The final report was submitted to the Climate Change Minister on 19 December 2012.

The Minister responded to the report on 21 March 2013 and accepted the majority of the Authority’s 34 recommendations.

Reducing Australia’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Targets and Progress Review

The Authority commenced work on the Targets and Progress Review in 2012-13. The Targets and Progress Review will recommend emissions reduction targets for Australia and report on how we are tracking towards these targets.

In its final report to the Australian Parliament, the Authority will:

  1. review Australia’s progress towards its medium and long term emissions reduction targets;
  2. recommend a 2020 emissions reduction target;
  3. recommend a national emissions budget and indicative national emissions trajectory;
  4. discuss how Australia might meet its emissions reductions goals, including how different sectors might contribute, and the role of access to international carbon markets; and
  5. recommend caps (or ‘limits’ on emissions) for the first five trading years of the carbon pricing mechanism.

The Authority released an issues paper on 23 April 2013, which outlined its proposed approach to the Review and invited submissions from interested parties. Over 60 submissions were received.

The Authority intends to release a draft report for public consultation in October 2013 and will provide opportunities for public comment before finalising its views.

The Authority is required to publish its final report and provide it to the Climate Change Minister by 28 February 2014.

Statements of Expectations and Intent

In March, the Authority received the Statement of Expectations from the Climate Change Minister which sets out the Government’s expectations for the Authority with regard to its role and responsibilities, its relationships with the Government and portfolio department and issues of corporate governance, communication and financial management. The Authority responded with a Statement of Intent. Both statements are published on the Authority’s website.

Climate Change Authority Corporate Plan 2013-2015

This year also saw the release of the Authority’s first corporate plan. The corporate plan is an important document for the Authority as it sets our missions and values and confirms the outputs for the coming year. It also provides stakeholders with an explanation of our role.

The key elements for success identified in the corporate plan include a commitment to broadstakeholder engagement, operational independence and transparency and ensuring our outputs are accessible and practical.


I would like to acknowledge the active and informed engagement by stakeholders with the Authority over the course of the year. The feedback received through written submissions, participating in roundtable discussions, individual meetings, and public forums has greatly assisted the Authority.

The staff of the former Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiencyplayed an important role in the smooth establishment of the Authority. Their preparation, particularly developing the corporate systems and processes, enabled the Authority to commence work from day one.

I would like to thank the Chair and members of the Authority for their commitment and guidance in setting the course for the Authority.

Finally, I would like to thank the staff of the Authority for their enthusiasm, professionalism and hard work during our first year of operation.

The first twelve months of operation of the Authority have been busy and productive. I look forward to continuing to work with our members, stakeholders and staff to deliver rigorous and independent advice on climate change policies to improve the quality of life for all Australians.

Anthea Harris

Chief Executive Officer