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The Environment and Energy Portfolio is responsible for a range of activities that broadly cover sustainable management of Australia’s environment, adapting to the impacts of climate change, and improving the health of ecosystems.
The Environment and Energy portfolio is responsible for a range of activities that broadly cover sustainable management of Australia’s environment, adapting to the impacts of climate change, and improving the health of ecosystems. Following the Administrative Arrangements Orders on 19 July 2016 and 1 September 2016, responsibility for energy policy was transferred from the Industry, Innovation and Science portfolio to the Environment and Energy portfolio.
This audit of investments by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation would examine the selection of investments, including the determination of an appropriate risk return, ongoing management of the portfolio of funded projects, and the extent to which the corporation is meeting its legislated objective.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation was established to increase the flow of funds into renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies. The corporation provides direct or indirect commercial investments (in the form of debt and/or equity), which are also intended to attract private sector finance, for projects at large-scale demonstration, pre-commercial or commercial stages. Under the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012, at least half of the corporation’s funding is designated for investment in renewable energy technologies, and the other half may be allocated to energy efficiency and low emissions technology projects. The corporation is credited $2 billion in investment funds each year for five years from 1 July 2013.
This audit would examine the Bureau of Meteorology’s management of products and services for extreme weather and natural disasters. The audit would focus on the effectiveness of changes made in response to previous reviews, with a particular focus on the 2011 Munro Review into the bureau’s capacity to respond to future extreme weather and natural disaster events.
Australia is prone to a range of extreme weather events, including floods, fires, severe thunderstorms and heatwaves, which can result in lives lost and prolonged disruption to communities and businesses. The duration, severity and impact of extreme weather events are forecast to increase due to climate change impacts. The bureau’s provision of relevant, timely and accurate advice impacts on emergency planning, preparedness, response and post-event recovery. The bureau provides thousands of weather warnings annually across numerous products. The quality of these products relies on sound planning, staff capability management, use of technology and risk management. Approximately 650 staff and $130 million a year are expended to deliver these products and services, representing about 29 per cent of the bureau’s total resourcing and 40 per cent of its staff.
This audit would examine the Clean Energy Regulator’s regulation under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, with a focus on certificate validation and compliance and enforcement activities.
Established in 2001, the Renewable Energy Target was designed to encourage the supply of additional electricity from renewable sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. The Clean Energy Regulator administers the scheme, which aims to provide an incentive for investment in renewable energy power stations and smaller systems, such as household solar, while ensuring the energy sources are ecologically sustainable. Under the target, liable entities (typically electricity retailers) are obliged to purchase and surrender large-scale generation certificates and small-scale technology certificates based on the volume of electricity they purchase each year. In 2015, the scheme contributed to 24 million megawatt hours of electricity generated from renewable sources from the transfer of 123.4 million certificates, worth approximately $1 billion in value. In 2016, compliance with the scheme by liable entities declined to 94 per cent, down from over 99 per cent compliance in the previous year, attracting shortfall charges of $148 million.
This audit would examine the management of the six Commonwealth national parks by Parks Australia, a division of the Department of the Environment and Energy. In particular, it would focus on the management of strategic risks to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, and operational risks from day-to-day park management activities and visitor interactions.
The Commonwealth national parks protect some of Australia’s most significant natural and culturally important areas including Uluru-Kata Tjuta, Kakadu and Booderee. The total area managed covers 21 480 square kilometers and the operating cost for these six national parks was $49 million in 2015–16. Over the same period, over 1.32 million people visited Commonwealth national parks, an increase of 3.8 per cent on the previous year.
The objective of the audit is to examine the implementation of the annual performance statements requirements under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule) by selected entities in 2016–17.