Climate Change Authority

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Chapter 2: Chief Executive Officer’s Review

2 Chief Executive Officer’s Review

I am pleased to present the Climate Change Authority’s second annual report, for the financial year 2013–14.

In only its second year of operation, the Authority has had a highly productive year, despite challenging circumstances. It has worked hard to ensure it meets its legislative obligations and to make a constructive contribution to an important area of policy. The Authority has produced a number of publications that aim to provide robust, balanced and practical advice on Australia’s emissions reduction goals and how to achieve them.

This year has been particularly difficult, given the government’s stated policy has been to abolish the Authority. The Authority has therefore had to plan for its wind-up, while still fulfilling its statutory responsibilities. The size of the Secretariat has diminished sharply over the year, from a peak of 36 to 20 at the end of 2013–14. While the Authority actively encouraged and facilitated staff transfer, the reduction in staffing levels was achieved in the absence of formal redundancy processes.

The Authority’s work program in 2013–14 was shaped by its statutory responsibilities, as well as what appeared to be its likely abolition early in 2014–15. The Authority fulfilled its statutory responsibilities to conduct a review of emissions reduction goals as well as assessing progress towards those goals in its Targets and Progress Review, which was completed in February 2014. From that time onwards, staff numbers declined rapidly. Nonetheless, the Authority conducted four additional research projects, using its power to conduct independent research under section 11 of the Climate Change Authority Act 2011. These research papers were designed to make a constructive contribution to the complex policy area of climate change.

It has been a real pleasure working with the Chair and Authority Members over the past year, and I thank them for their continued commitment to the Authority’s work, their considered guidance, and their good humour and support.

I also would like to thank the Authority’s staff, both past and present, for their professionalism, dedication, skill and positive outlook in what has been a challenging 12 months for the organisation.

At present, the future of the Authority remains unclear and is ultimately a matter for parliament to decide. Regardless of the outcome, I am very proud of the work that the Authority has completed in its first two years of operation. I am confident that the reports and papers produced will continue to make a valuable contribution to the climate change debate for years to come.

Anthea Harris

Chief Executive Officer