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Corporate governance

The Clean Energy Regulator has proved to be agile and responsive to policy changes while maintaining a high standard of compliance with the legislation for which it is responsible.

The Clean Energy Regulator's Corporate Governance Framework assists agency staff to plan and manage activities and deliver on the expectations of government and the Australian community.

The framework articulates the lines of authority, accountability, direction and control within the agency. It is designed to ensure that all staff understand their accountabilities as employees under the Public Service Act 1999 and, where applicable, as delegates of the Clean Energy Regulator. This ensures the agency delivers its outcomes in a controlled, transparent and accountable manner, in accordance with relevant legislation and government policy.

Governance processes

The Clean Energy Regulator's governance processes and policies include:

  • risk management
  • protective security management
  • business planning
  • performance and conformance monitoring and reporting
  • staff performance agreements
  • internal auditing
  • fraud prevention, and
  • Chief Executive Directions and Instructions.

The Corporate Governance Framework supports the Clean Energy Regulator's culture—which promotes and upholds the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct—and enables the agency to monitor and improve its performance.


The Clean Energy Regulator's committee structure supports the agency's governance and provides leadership and oversight of agency operations and performance.

Figure 7: The Clean Energy Regulator's committee structure as at 30 June 2015

Figure 7: The Clean Energy Regulator's committee structure as at 30 June 2015  

Executive Board

The Executive Board is an advisory committee to the Chief Executive Officer. It provides a formal venue for clearance of papers that will be referred to the Regulator.

The Executive Board comprises the Chief Executive Officer, Executive General Managers and General Counsel. The Executive Board meets monthly before each meeting of the Regulator.

Senior Leadership Team

The Senior Leadership Team leads the agency in setting the strategic direction for its operations. It makes decisions about operating policies, allocates resources and oversees the implementation of the agency's regulatory posture.

The Senior Leadership Team has the same membership as the Executive Board and it generally meets weekly.

Extended Leadership Team

The Extended Leadership Team is a forum to discuss, advise on and determine matters that affect the operation of the agency as a whole.

The Extended Leadership Team comprises the Chief Executive Officer, Executive General Managers, General Counsel and General Managers, and is chaired by the Chief Operations Officer. It generally meets fortnightly.

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee provides independent assurance and assistance to the Chief Executive Officer on the agency's internal audit work programme and its external accountability under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. This includes reviewing the agency's annual financial statements.

The Audit Committee comprises an independent member (Chair), a member of the Regulator, and two senior executive officers. It generally meets quarterly.

Security Management Committee

The Security Management Committee provides centralised strategic direction and advice on the agency's protective security and information technology policies and practices. It ensures the agency complies with relevant statutory obligations.

The Security Management Committee comprises the Agency Security Executive (Chair), the Chief Information Security Officer, the Chief Information Officer, the General Manager Investigations and Enforcement, the Information Technology Security Advisor, the Agency Security Advisor, and the Assistant Agency Security Advisor. It generally meets quarterly.

Project Portfolio Board

The Project Portfolio Board is accountable to, and supports, the Senior Leadership Team by ensuring the agency's investment in its suite of projects will achieve agreed outcomes.

The Project Portfolio Board comprises the Chief Operations Officer (Chair), Executive General Managers, the Chief Information Officer, the Financial Controller, the Manager Portfolio Management Office, and the Manager Project Delivery. It generally meets monthly.

Managers Forum

The Managers Forum provides an opportunity for managers across the agency to share information and consult about business and operational priorities. It also provides an opportunity for managers to comment on upcoming policy reviews and collaborate on the development of operational and governance matters.

The Managers Forum comprises the People and Communications General Manager (Chair) and all section managers. It generally meets monthly.

Staff Consultative Committee

The Staff Consultative Committee provides a forum for consultation on workplace issues, including seeking staff views.

The Staff Consultative Committee comprises the People and Communications General Manager (Chair), and representatives from each division. It generally meets monthly.

Work Health and Safety Committee

The Work Health and Safety Committee provides ways for staff to participate in preventing work-related injury and illness, and encourages agency-wide participation. It considers matters relevant to workers' health and safety as raised by managers, health and safety representatives or other staff.

The Work Health and Safety Committee comprises the People and Communications General Manager (Chair), agency health and safety representatives and management representatives. It generally meets quarterly.

Planning and reporting

New outcome and performance measures

The Clean Energy Regulator's Portfolio Budget Statement Outcome, programme deliverables and key performance indicators were updated for this year as a result of changes in the agency's functions, in particular the repeal of the carbon pricing mechanism.

The outcome statement details the agency's accountability to government, which is to:

Contribute to a reduction in Australia's net greenhouse gas emissions, including through the administration of market based mechanisms that incentivise reduction in emissions and the promotion of additional renewable electricity generation.

The programme deliverables describe the agency's administration of specific schemes and the associated benefits that contribute to achieving the outcome. The key performance indicators provide quantitative and qualitative measures to assess performance against the deliverables (see page 12).

The Clean Energy Regulator's planning framework guides the agency in delivering on its outcome statement, and integrates interdependent activities including:

  • development of Portfolio Budget Statements
  • investment and internal budget allocations
  • strategic and business planning
  • annual reporting, and
  • monthly and quarterly performance reporting.

Figure 8: The Clean Energy Regulator's planning framework

Figure 8: The Clean Energy Regulator's planning framework  

Business planning

The agency's annual business planning process provides clear line of sight between the high level purpose and outcome, and the contributions of staff across the agency.

The Corporate Plan is released every three years and identifies the agency's purpose and objectives and details how these will be achieved and measured. The Annual Plan is released every year and operationalises the agency's objectives and sets out annual priorities. Divisional, branch and section plans summarise how day-to-day work contributes to the strategic objectives and priorities, and provides operational paths to achieve this.

The business planning framework includes allocation of human resources, investment, risk management and performance measurement and is linked to the agency's performance reporting framework.

Risk management

In administering legislation on behalf of the Australian Government, the Clean Energy Regulator must understand what might undermine its ability to achieve its objectives and meet its statutory obligations.

Identifying and managing risks to these objectives at the strategic and operational level enables the agency to:

  • streamline regulatory processes across and within schemes
  • target resources towards areas of highest risk
  • reduce compliance obligations on low-risk stakeholders
  • achieve organisational efficiencies, and
  • deliver the specific objectives of relevant legislation effectively and efficiently.

In light of changes to the Clean Energy Regulator's functions in 2014–15, the agency reviewed its Risk Management Framework and developed a Risk Appetite Statement, policy and risk matrix.

The agency is embedding its Risk Management Framework into its day-to-day operations and promoting a positive risk culture where all staff understand how their daily work fits into the agency's capability to mitigate risk across the full range of its functions.

The aim is to maximise return on investment against the agency's purpose, while managing material risks, drawing on agency knowledge and evidence to inform decisions, processes and client engagement.

Fraud and non-compliance prevention and control

The Clean Energy Regulator takes a holistic approach to fraud control to ensure it has robust governance, strong controls, effective risk assessment and management, complemented by clear policies and procedures.

A comprehensive fraud control plan is in place, which fosters continued legislative compliance and reflects the overall agency and fraud control structure.

The fraud control plan provides information on preventing, detecting and responding to internal and scheme-related fraud. It also covers ongoing alignment of risk management with business planning and agency roles and responsibilities.

The plan integrates fraud controls such as:

  • a fraud governance framework
  • an investigations manual and supporting processes
  • templates and procedures, and
  • security management principles for information and communications technology.

The Clean Energy Regulator's internal and scheme fraud risk assessments are integrated into enterprise risk registers, which reflect various prevention, detection and response controls in place across the agency.


In 2014–15, a total of 151 allegations were referred for investigation within the agency. Of these, 39 were escalated to an investigation.

The Clean Energy Regulator has several means of receiving allegations of fraud from internal or external sources. All allegations of fraud are treated seriously and the agency is committed to maintaining confidentiality and protecting those who provide information concerning alleged fraud. The agency records and addresses any alleged, apparent or potential fraud and non-compliance incidents in accordance with the Australian Government Investigations Standards.

The Clean Energy Regulator's Compliance, Education and Enforcement Policy aims to achieve high levels of voluntary compliance. Civil and criminal prosecutions are pursued in the more serious cases of deliberate non-compliance.

Table 14: Investigations commenced in 2014–15 by type and scheme
Type of non-compliance allegedRETNGERERF/CFICPMTotals
Fraudulent activity21-1123
Systems breach/ non-compliance 87--15
Failure to comply with notice 1---1

RET = Renewable Energy Target, NGER = National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme
ERF/CFI = Emissions Reduction Fund/Carbon Farming Initiative, CPM = carbon pricing mechanism

Table 15: Investigations closed in 2014–15
No further action required 52 7
Administrative action (including voluntary surrender of certificates, rectification / re-inspection of installations)12-12
Referred to an external agency 1- 1
Warning or advisory letter 15419
Agreed enforceable undertaking 1- 1

As of 1 July 2014, a total of 29 investigations were on hand, and as of 30 June 2015, 28 investigations were on hand.

Table 16: Total investigations
On hand as of 1 July 2014 29---29
Received 2014–15 3071139
Closed 2014–15346--40
On hand as of 30 June 2015 2511128
Totals 1181422136

During 2014–15, a total of 40 investigations were closed.

As a result of these investigations, a total of 2 020 small-scale technology certificates were surrendered and two REC Registry accounts were permanently suspended.

In support of investigations, the Clean Energy Regulator, with assistance from the Australian Federal Police, executed one search warrant under the Criminal Code Act 1914.

In addition, the Clean Energy Regulator executed one monitoring warrant under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000.

As at 30 June 2015, a total of 28 investigations remained open.



Charges laid against solar photovoltaic system installer

The Clean Energy Regulator investigated allegations a Queensland sales and installation company provided false and misleading documentation resulting in the improper creation of renewable energy certificates.

A brief of evidence was submitted to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. In July 2014 Mr Neville Voss, Director of Local Power Solar Pty Ltd, was charged with fraudulently obtaining more than $260 000 by allegedly producing false and misleading documentation claiming that non-existent solar photovoltaic systems had been installed, which resulted in the improper creation of small-scale technology certificates in 2012–13. The business is no longer trading and has been deregistered.

This case is currently before the Queensland court system.

The Clean Energy Regulator recognises that engagement, education and support is a critical component in ensuring scheme participants meet their obligations and avoid inadvertent non-compliance. The Clean Energy Regulator publishes various guidance materials and resources to advise clients of their obligations. The agency publishes on its website details of enforcement actions taken when clients do not comply with their obligations.

The Clean Energy Regulator also informs agency staff about their obligations under the Public Service Act 1999. Directions under this Act require staff to refrain from acquiring or disposing of interests in an organisation when the Clean Energy Regulator is considering making a decision that affects that organisation to avoid conflicts of interest.

Business continuity management

The Clean Energy Regulator's business continuity framework includes a plan, processes and responsibilities to assist the agency and business areas to respond and recover from a business disruption.

The Management Response Team oversees implementation of the business continuity arrangements, including test exercises. This team comprises the Chief Operations Officer (Chair), the Chief Information Officer, and executives from each division. The team tests the outcomes of the programme to monitor the agency's preparedness and incorporate improvements to build the agency's resilience. During 2014–15 a number of exercises were undertaken to test the agency's preparedness and response to a business interruption, including a whole-of-agency exercise in December 2014.

Internal audit

The Chief Internal Auditor is responsible for the efficient and effective operation of the Clean Energy Regulator's internal audit function, reporting to the Chief Executive Officer through the Chief Operations Officer and the Audit Committee.

Details of the Audit Committee's role and membership are on page 72. During 2014–15 the Audit Committee held quarterly meetings (in September, December, March and June). The committee held a meeting in August 2015 to discuss the 2014-15 financial statements. The Audit Committee endorsed the internal audit work programme and internal audit reports on performance and compliance issues. It also reviewed the agency's financial and performance reporting, systems of risk oversight and management and internal controls.

Oakton Services Pty Ltd provides internal audit services to the Clean Energy Regulator. During 2014–15, Oakton Services completed internal audits on:

  • information release management
  • payroll processing
  • Carbon Farming Initiative
  • work health and safety arrangements
  • National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Project Stage 2—Release 2
  • National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting audit framework
  • financial management controls, and
  • closure of the carbon pricing mechanism.

Regulatory reform

The Australian Government is implementing a comprehensive reform agenda to reduce the burden of regulation on its clients. The agenda aims to reduce the costs of clients engaging with government as well as the costs imposed on suppliers through procurement and cost-recovery frameworks. It also aims to improve transparency and enhance efficiency in administering regulations.

The reforms are two-fold:

  • The Reducing Red Tape policy requires additional levels of rigour in assessing the impact of proposed legislation and changes to regulatory practices. This includes assessing adoption of international standards and risk assessments where it is sensible to do so.
  • The Regulator Performance Framework requires annual self-assessments including feedback from clients about their experiences of doing business with government.

In everyday scheme administration, the Clean Energy Regulator assesses the potential burden on clients and implements practical, flexible solutions that appropriately balance the needs of both parties. Whenever possible, the agency engages with clients early and effectively.

During 2014–15, the Clean Energy Regulator continued to engage proactively with the Environment portfolio on all regulatory reform activities. This included identifying performance metrics for the agency's first annual self-assessment under the Regulator Performance Framework, commencing 1 July 2015. Work continues to ensure the agency collects appropriate data for reporting against the goals of the Australian Government's reform agenda.

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