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Regulatory environment


Operating landscape

The Clean Energy Regulator operates in a dynamic environment. Climate change policy and regulation attract national and international attention and the scientific evidence and policy responses continue to be debated around the world. Against this backdrop, the Clean Energy Regulator can expect to be the subject of occasional media commentary and general public scrutiny. The success of the Clean Energy Regulator will be of interest to a wide range of stakeholders. This combined with fiscal pressure and constrained government budgets means that the Clean Energy Regulator will have to be highly effective and focused in its operations to make best use of limited resources.

In the 2015–16, the carbon price will transition from a fixed price to a fully flexible internationally linked emissions trading scheme. In addition, the scheduled independent reviews of both the carbon pricing legislation and of the Renewable Energy Target will be key influences on the future operating environment.

Relationships between the Clean Energy Regulator and the Government

The Clean Energy Regulator is an independent statutory decision maker but is nevertheless accountable to the Government and to the Parliament for its use of resources in the performance of its functions, and the way in which it performs those functions.

The Clean Energy Regulator will report regularly to enable the Government to assess the agency's performance against agreed performance indicators. This includes providing to the Minister annual reports for tabling in the Parliament under Section 40 of the Clean Energy Regulator Act 2011 and under Section 105 of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. The Clean Energy Regulator's annual report will be prepared in accordance with the Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit.

Consistent with Section 39 of the Clean Energy Regulator Act 2011, at least once each three year period, the Clean Energy Regulator will also submit a corporate plan to the Minister. The Chief Executive Officer will report against the corporate plan and inform the Minister of any changes to the plan or significant matters that may impact on the achievement of the objectives contained therein.

The effective performance of the Clean Energy Regulator will be underpinned by the establishment of collaborative relationships across government. The Clean Energy Regulator works closely with the Department, which is the principal advisor to the Government on climate change policy. This is done through a formal executive-level co ordination committee as well as frequent meetings and information exchange at all levels on current and emerging issues.

In particular, the Clean Energy Regulator will provide advice and input into any further policy development relevant to the legislation which it administers. The Clean Energy Regulator also relies on the Department for the provision of certain corporate services through a shared services agreement. The Clean Energy Regulator will contribute to the development of formal government submissions relating to its activities and resources, which will be coordinated and submitted by the Department. Advice and support will also be provided to the Minister and Parliamentary Secretary, to assist the administration of both clean energy policy and programs.

Partnerships within the Commonwealth

The Clean Energy Regulator works in close partnership with other agencies that have regulatory responsibilities under climate law and other legislation. This includes sharing of relevant information, intelligence gathering, and referring matters for law enforcement. Some of the other agencies that the Clean Energy Regulator engages with include:

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission regulates emissions units as financial products under the Corporations Act 2001 and Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission addresses misrepresentations about the impact of carbon price on the price of goods and services.
The Australian Taxation Office applies equivalent carbon price to specific fuels under the Fuel Tax legislation and, utilising risk management strategies, ensures the appropriate income tax and GST treatment arising from carbon price emissions liabilities.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre regulates the trading of emissions units in the secondary market as a 'designated service' under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006.
The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities applies equivalent carbon price to synthetic greenhouse gases under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management legislation.

The Clean Energy Regulator also supplies information to state and territory government organisations. As well as alliances with a range of organisations across the Commonwealth, the Clean Energy Regulator has a close working relationship with the portfolio lead Department.

Client and stakeholder engagement

The Clean Energy Regulator has adopted the term 'client' to describe participants in the any of the schemes which we administer. The Client Engagement Strategy is the highest level of a suite of control documents that describes the intent, concepts and principles under which the Clean Energy Regulator will interact with clients and other stakeholders. Activities include delivering seminars, online webinars or over the phone communications, conducting audits, or responding via email.

To enable the agency to prioritise and identify where to invest effort, engagement themes are being mapped to specific regulatory outcomes as detailed in the engagement theme table (over). The various ways in which client facing staff will engage is broken loosely into types of activity, with each type having a specific primary outcome:

Engagement theme 
  Types of activity  Supported regulatory outcome
1. Educating  Information sessions, howto's, training and assurance audits  Voluntary compliance
2. Providing  Advising, payments, certificates and delivering  Voluntary compliance and active participation
3. Challenging  Inspections, audits and reviews 
4. Enforcing   Warning, determinations, fines, fees and litigation  Compliance

The operating principles in the Client Engagement Strategy have been developed in consultation with relevant business areas across the agency. These principles articulate the desired service delivery culture of the Clean Energy Regulator and will guide and inform staff in their day-to-day work. The principles are:

We will provide accurate, consistent, relevant, and timely responses. Service standards will support the delivery of timely services and manage client expectations.
Whole of client approach
We will be accessible, understand and take responsibility for our clients' needs across the range of schemes we administer. We will recognise operational linkages and collaborate across business functions to ensure seamless and solutions focused service delivery. Where possible, we will offer clients a single point of contact, to reduce multiple touch points with the agency. High volume, low complexity functions and information will be delivered through online self-service. We will consider client feedback as we build agency capability.
Professional, knowledgeable and decisive
We will engage in a manner that fosters a professional, constructive engagement. We will build trust through providing technical proficiency and consistent advice. We will understand the legislation we are responsible for administering, the policy intent behind the legislation and the decision-making frameworks in which we operate. We will consult and involve the right teams, assess the risk and sensitivities associated with our actions, make timely decisions, and document and communicate decisions for consistency.
Communicate proactively
We will listen to our clients and provide the necessary support and tools to ensure they are well informed to meet their obligations, and where possible seek feedback to inform the development of system and processes. We will ensure internal communication around client service delivery is coordinated and consistent. We will 'Brief-up' when decisions are likely to be contentious or sensitive.
Deliver continuous improvement
We will empower teams to implement continuous improvements in client service delivery, and will identify opportunities to become more efficient and effective in how we manage client needs. We will proactively share lessons learned and make changes to our Standard Operating Procedures and systems to reflect these lessons.

The Clean Energy Regulator is committed to the continuous improvement of its services and relationships with its clients. The Clean Energy Regulator values feedback on its performance and strives to improve on the commitments outlined in the Clean Energy Regulator Service Charter.


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