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Corporate governance

​​Our governance structure includes the Regulator Board, our senior executive and the committees that provide strategic direction, leadership and oversight of our operations and support our agency to deliver our purpose of accelerating carbon abatement for Australia.

Members of the Regulator Board

Members of the Regulator Board are appointed by the responsible minister under the Clean Energy Regulator Act 2011, and are required to have substantial experience or knowledge in relevant fields. The Chair holds office on a full-time basis. All other Members hold office on a part-time basis.

The Regulator Board determines our strategic direction and policies, and is accountable for our regulatory decisions according to the legislation we administer. In addition to their collective responsibilities, Members of the Regulator Board each apply their expertise to a specific area of focus. This adds depth to the Regulator Board’s appreciation of the operating environment and enables agency officers to draw directly on Members’ knowledge and experience. Members provide an update on their area of focus at each Regulator Board meeting. The Regulator Board Members for 2017–18 were:

  • Mr David Parker AM (Chair)
  • Ms Virginia Malley
  • Ms Anne T Brown
  • Mr Michael D’Ascenzo AO, and
  • Dr Peter Davis.

Mr David Parker AM, Chair

The Minister appointed David Parker as Chair of the Clean Energy Regulator on 3 July 2017.

Mr David Parker has extensive experience in economics and public administration with a long professional involvement in policy and regulatory matters in a range of areas.

Prior to joining the agency, Mr Parker was Deputy Secretary at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Mr Parker was responsible for the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, as well as the Department’s Water, Export, Trade and Market Access divisions.

Mr Parker has been Deputy Secretary at the Department of the Environment and Energy with responsibility for water, Antarctica and National parks, and elements of climate change policy.

Previously, Mr Parker spent 25 years at Treasury, where he worked on financial sector liberalisation, tax reform, macroeconomic forecasting and policy, competition policy, energy policy and international economic issues. He was appointed Deputy Secretary in 2004.

From 1997 to 2002 Mr Parker worked at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. Mr Parker has qualifications in economics and law and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012.

Ms Anne T Brown, Member

Area of focus: Audit committee and risk framework

Ms Brown has substantial knowledge and practical experience of Australian and international exchange traded financial markets, risk management, related infrastructure and regulatory environments.

Ms Brown is the Chair of the Life Code Compliance Committee, which monitors and oversees compliance with the Australian life insurance industry’s Code of Practice, a member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee of Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College Ltd and a member of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s Markets Disciplinary Panel.

Ms Brown was previously Chief Risk Officer with ASX Limited from 2006 to 2010, following its merger with SFE Corporation Limited (SFE). Her role included group executive responsibilities for enterprise-wide risk management, compliance and audit. She chaired a number of broader group executive committees and developed integration strategy, risk management and policy development and execution for ASX’s two central counterparty clearing houses.

Ms Brown represented ASX from 2008 to 2010 as the Chair and executive committee member of CCP12, an influential global industry association involving all major international clearing houses. Prior to the ASX–SFE, Ms Brown was a general manager with SFE, and previously worked with KPMG in both Edinburgh and Sydney.

Ms Brown holds a double major degree in accountancy and computer science from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. She is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mr Michael D’Ascenzo AO, Member

Area of focus: Cross-agency compliance and membership of the Joint Agency Executive Steering Committee

Mr D’Ascenzo is recognised internationally for his leadership and expertise in administration, strategy and governance, and for his technical and design skills in tax law and superannuation.

Mr D’Ascenzo is an adjunct professor of the University of New South Wales and a professorial fellow of Melbourne University. He also consults internationally on the modernisation of organisations, especially those working on tax policy or administration.

Mr D’Ascenzo’s previous roles include Commissioner of Taxation for seven years (2006–2012), and more recently as a member of the Foreign Investment Review Board (2013–2017), and as a non-executive director of Australia Post (2013–2016).

Mr D’Ascenzo holds degrees in economics and law from the Australian National University. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School Program for Management Development, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Fellow of the Australian Risk Policy Institute, Honorary Life Fellow of CPA Australia and Honorary Fellow of the Association of Taxation and Management Accountants.

In 2010, Mr D’Ascenzo was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to public administration, particularly through reform and innovative engagement with the taxation profession and government agencies. In 2012, he was named the Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Federal Government Leader of the Year.

Ms Virginia Malley, Member

Area of focus: Market development and client education

Ms Malley has 31 years’ experience in the investment and banking sectors, including 17 years’ experience as a company director. Her areas of expertise are regulatory compliance, financial and environmental markets, risk management, corporate governance, custody and trusteeship.

Ms Malley is the Deputy Chair of the Biodiversity Conservation Trust of New South Wales, and a non-executive director of Perpetual Superannuation Limited, Perpetual Equity Investment Company Ltd and Morphic Ethical Equities Fund Ltd.

Ms Malley was previously the Chief Risk Officer at Macquarie Funds Management Group and was a member of a number of committees at Macquarie with focuses on clean technology, the Asia Pacific, private equity and global advisory investment. She also served on the boards of Macquarie Investment Management Limited and Bond Street Custodians Limited and was a member-elected trustee of the Macquarie Bank Staff Superannuation Fund. She oversaw the risk management of portfolios, worth more than $85 billion, investing in clean technologies, publicly traded debt securities, listed equities, derivatives, currencies and private equity. She also managed industry regulator and ratings agency relationships.

Ms Malley is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Applied Finance from Macquarie University, a Graduate Diploma in Environmental Law and a Master of Laws from the University of Sydney, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Dr Peter Davis, Member

Area of focus: Renewable energy

Dr Davis has extensive experience in the Australian energy sector, including 19 years at Chief Executive and General Manager level. He has extensive experience in regulatory and structural reform of critical infrastructure services in both regulated and competitive markets, with particular expertise in renewable energy, energy efficiency and demand side management.

Dr Davis is an independent non-executive Director of the Australian Energy Market Operator, and is Chair of AEMO’s Technical and Regulatory Committee and a Member of the Zema Scholarship Trust Fund. He is a Member of the University of Tasmania’s Built Environment and Infrastructure Committee. From 2004 to 2014 he was Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Aurora Energy Pty Ltd, an energy utility with interests in electricity distribution, generation, retail and gas supply. He was a Director of the Energy Supply Association of Australia from 2008 to 2014, and chaired the Energy Supply Association of Australia’s Greenhouse Policy Committee.

Dr Davis holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the Solar Energy Research Centre at the University of Queensland, a Master of Business Administration from Deakin University, an honours degree in science from Monash University and degrees in science and education from the University of Tasmania. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Engineers Australia.

Regulator Board meetings

Under the Clean Energy Regulator Act 2011, the Chair of the Regulator may convene a meeting at any time. Between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018, the Regulator Board met nine times. See Appendix B for details of meeting dates and apologies.

Agency senior executive staff

As at 30 June 2018 our agency comprised the Business Operations Division, Regulatory Obligation and Coordination Division, Scheme Entry and Entitlement Division and the offices of the Chair and the General Counsel.

Figure 10: Our agency structure as at 30 June 2018
Figure: Diagram showing our agency structure as at 30 June 2018

Mr David Parker AM, Chair

Our agency executive staff report to the Chair, who is the head of our agency and the ‘accountable authority’ as defined by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. Mr David Parker was the Chair from 3 July 2017 (see above).

Mr Geoff Purvis-Smith, General Counsel

Mr Purvis-Smith joined the Clean Energy Regulator as General Counsel in June 2012.

Mr Purvis-Smith has extensive experience as a regulatory lawyer, having worked in a number of Commonwealth agencies including the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Before joining the Australian Public Service, Mr Purvis-Smith was a private sector lawyer specialising in litigation, regulation and government.

Mr Purvis-Smith holds degrees in arts and law and a master’s degree in international law.

Ms Mary-Anne Wilson, A/g Executive General Manager, Regulatory Obligation and Coordination

Ms Wilson held the position of A/g Executive General Manager from February to July 2018.

Ms Wilson has worked for the Clean Energy Regulator since 2012 and been engaged in climate change and sustainability policy and programs for more than 15 years. Throughout her career, Ms Wilson has held various positions within the Australian Government focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging the uptake of renewable energy and reducing waste.

Ms Wilson has graduate diplomas in science and legal studies from the Australian National University.

Note: This position was held by Ms Jody Swirepik until February 2018.

Mr Mark Williamson, Executive General Manager, Scheme Entry and Entitlement

Mr Williamson joined the Clean Energy Regulator in August 2012, following an extensive career including senior executive roles in the private sector and state and local government.

He previously held a national commercial and technical senior executive role in an ASX 200 company and was Executive Director at the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, leading that agency’s regulatory operations across a diverse range of environmental legislation.

Mr Williamson has qualifications in applied science and post-graduate management qualifications.

Mr Chris Ramsden, Executive General Manager, Business Operations

Mr Ramsden commenced as the Executive General Manager, Business Operations Division and Chief Financial Officer in September 2012.

Prior to this, he occupied senior finance positions in several government agencies including the Department of Health and Ageing, ComSuper, the Australian Taxation Office, and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. His diverse public service career also spans operational law enforcement roles.

Mr Ramsden holds a business degree in accounting and finance and is a Fellow of the Certified Practising Accountants of Australia.

Governance framework and processes

Our corporate governance framework assists agency staff to plan and manage activities and deliver on the expectations of government and the community. The framework articulates the lines of authority, accountability, direction and control within our agency. It is designed to ensure our staff understand their accountabilities and our agency delivers outcomes in a controlled, transparent and accountable manner, in line with relevant legislation and government policy.

Our governance processes and policies include risk management, protective security management, business planning, financial management, performance and conformance monitoring and reporting, staff performance agreements, internal auditing, fraud prevention, and Chief Executive Directions and Instructions.

Our governance framework supports our agency culture—which promotes and upholds the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct—and enables us to monitor and improve our performance.

Committee structure

Our governance committee structure:

  • ensures the Regulator Board and Chair meet their obligations, lead the agency and monitor the performance and conformance of the agency as a whole, and
  • facilitates our relationship with the Department of the Environment and Energy as a statutory authority within the Environment and Energy Portfolio.
Figure 11: Our committee structure as at 30 June 2018
Figure: Diagram showing our committee structure as at 30 June 2018.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is an advisory committee to the Chair that provides a formal venue for clearance of papers referred to the Regulator Board. This committee comprises our Chair, Executive General Managers and General Counsel, and generally meets two weeks before each meeting of the Regulator Board.

Strategic Leadership Team

The Strategic Leadership Team leads our agency in setting the strategic direction for operations including regulatory posture, risk appetite, corporate planning, purpose and objectives. This team makes decisions about policies, allocates resources and monitors our agency’s regulatory posture, and has the same membership as the Executive Committee. This team generally meets weekly.

Business Leadership Team

The Business Leadership Team is responsible for decisions about implementing our agreed annual and business plans, manages matters that require collaboration across divisions, and monitors resolution of identified issues and implementation of our strategic priorities. This team comprises all General Managers, the General Counsel and Managers who report directly to an Executive General Manager, and generally meets fortnightly.

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee provides independent advice and assurance to the Chair on the appropriateness of our financial reporting, performance reporting, system of risk oversight and management, and our system of internal control. The Audit Committee comprises three members, including an independent Chair and at least one other external member, with a Member of the Regulator attending as an observer. It meets at least quarterly, and may hold special meetings to review annual financial statements and performance statements or to meet other specific committee responsibilities.

Joint Agency Executive Steering Committee

The Joint Agency Executive Steering Committee provides an inter-agency forum for high level strategic oversight of the schemes we administer, considers the implications of significant developments on policy and regulatory functions, and considers options for managing emerging trends, issues and risks within the policy and regulatory environment. This committee comprises Regulator Members including our Chair, and Senior Executive Service employees from both the Department of the Environment and Energy and our agency. It meets three times a year or as otherwise agreed.

Emissions Reduction Fund Programme Steering Committee

The Emissions Reduction Fund Programme Steering Committee provides an inter-agency forum for problem-solving in regards to Emissions Reduction Fund policy, legislation, methods, and stakeholder management. This steering committee provides governance for management of scheme risks and benefits and is accountable to the Joint Agency Executive Steering Committee. It comprises Senior Executive Service employees from both the Department of the Environment and Energy and our agency, and generally meets quarterly or as otherwise agreed.

Finance and Investment Committee

The Finance and Investment Committee is a forum for discussion, analysis and consideration on all aspects of our agency’s financial management framework for the purposes of advising the Strategic Leadership Team. This committee is accountable to the Strategic Leadership Team and comprises the Chief Operations Officer (Chair) and the Executive General Managers. It generally meets quarterly.

System Owners Reference Group

The System Owners Reference Group is a decision-making committee focusing on prioritising improvements to the business systems and data services that support and enable the capabilities in our agency operating model. This group is accountable to the Strategic Leadership Committee, comprises the Chief Operations Officer (Chair), the Chief Data Officer, the Chief Information Officer, the Chief Financial Officer and relevant capability owners. It generally meets monthly.

Compliance Management Committee

The Compliance Management Committee is a forum to foster and drive a ‘firm but fair’ scheme compliance culture, champion approaches and settings to non-compliance that are consistent, coherent, predictable and measurable, and drive our agency’s transition to a better practice regulator. This committee comprises the General Manager Scheme Coordination and Policy (Chair) and the General Managers responsible for administering our agency’s schemes. It generally meets monthly.

Security Management Committee

The Security Management Committee oversees and coordinates the strategic direction of our protective security and information security policies and practices and ensures we comply with relevant government requirements. It comprises the Agency Security Executive (Chair), the Chief Information Security Officer, the Chief Information Officer, the General Manager Human Resources. This committee generally meets quarterly.

Staff Consultative Committee

The Staff Consultative Committee provides a forum for consultation on general employment and workplace relations matters. It comprises the General Manager Human Resources (Chair) and employee representatives from each branch, two management representatives, a graduate representative, a union delegate (agency employee) and an external representative from the Community and Public Sector Union. This committee generally meets quarterly or as otherwise agreed.

Work Health and Safety Consultative Committee

The Work Health and Safety Consultative Committee encourages and facilitates staff participation in instigating, developing and carrying out measures designed to ensure our workers’ health and safety at work. It also considers workers’ health and safety matters raised by managers, health and safety representatives or other staff. It comprises the General Manager Human Resources (Chair), agency health and safety representatives, manager representatives, worker representatives and an external representative from the Community and Public Sector Union. This committee is required to meet at least quarterly.

Remuneration Committee

The Remuneration Committee has been established to make recommendations to the agency head, or their delegate, regarding applications from employees for individual flexibility arrangements to vary remuneration-related conditions of the Clean Energy Regulator Enterprise Agreement 2016–2019. This committee comprises the Chief Operations Officer (Chair), the General Manager Human Resources, the Chief Financial Officer, the General Counsel and two General Managers. It meets as required.

Planning and reporting

Our business planning considers the allocation of human resources, investment, risk management and performance measurement and incorporates our agency’s performance reporting framework.

Our Corporate Plan 2017–2021 is our agency’s primary strategic planning document. It sets out our purpose, objectives and strategic approach and informs our broader planning framework, including all operational business plans, which articulate the objectives to be achieved for the year ahead, how we will achieve these objectives, resources we will allocate to particular deliverables, associated risks we need to managed, and the contribution of individuals to meet the objectives.

Updated and published annually, our corporate plan explains the strategies we use to achieve our objectives and provides a framework for us to measure our performance, in accordance with paragraph 35(1)(a) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

During 2017–18 we undertook work to mature our planning framework and further integrate strategic planning across the agency. This included developing an environmental scanning framework to better capture and address emerging threats and opportunities as well refreshing the Agency Operating Model.

Our key performance indicators are designed to measure achievements against our purpose. They are part of our agency’s key performance indicator framework. We have developed this framework to meet our external and internal reporting requirements, while ensuring the flexibility to incorporate changes in government policy and our operating environment against our core activities as a regulator.

We report our performance against the key performance indicators in our corporate plan and the performance criteria in our portfolio budget statement as required under section 39 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 in Chapter 2: Annual performance statement.

Risk management

Our approach to risk takes into account the legislative framework, Australian Government policy and our available resources. Our risk appetite reflects the nature of the schemes we administer.

In administering legislation on behalf of the Australian Government, we understand what might undermine our ability to achieve our objectives and meet our statutory obligations. Identifying and managing risks to these objectives at the strategic and operational level enables us to:

  • streamline regulatory processes across and within the schemes we administer
  • target resources towards areas of highest risk
  • achieve organisational efficiencies, and
  • deliver the specific objectives of relevant legislation effectively and efficiently.

We continue to embed and enhance our risk management framework into day-to-day operations, adopting a strong risk management culture where all staff understand how their daily work fits into our agency’s capability to mitigate risk across our full range of functions.

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

Our strategic risks

We pay particular attention to ensuring that the following high level risks are managed in an effective way:

  • uncertainty impedes us from achieving our purpose
  • our role is misunderstood or changes with substantial consequences
  • we are not an effective regulator, and
  • we can’t free resources, or we lack critical capability, to meet changing demands.

We actively manage and review these strategic risks, as well as our operational risks.

Fraud prevention and control

We take a holistic approach to fraud control to ensure we have robust governance, strong controls, effective risk assessment and management complemented by clear policies and procedures.

Our fraud control plan fosters continued legislative compliance, reflects our overall agency and fraud control structure and provides information on preventing, detecting and responding to internal and scheme-related fraud. It also aligns risk management with business planning and agency roles and responsibilities.

We can receive allegations of fraud from internal or external sources by several means. We treat all allegations of fraud seriously and we are committed to maintaining confidentiality and protecting those who provide information concerning alleged fraud. We record and address any alleged, apparent or potential fraud and non-compliance incidents in accordance with the Australian Government Investigations Standards.

Conflict of interest

We inform our staff about their obligations under the Public Service Act 1999, which requires staff to avoid actual, perceived or potential conflicts of interests. Staff and Regulator Members are required to complete an annual declaration of interest form. Compliance with this requirement is reported to the Audit Committee.

Business continuity management

We have developed our business continuity management framework to help us prepare for, and respond to, a business interruption or outage. Through our training and annual testing program, we assess our preparedness for a business disruption event. The lessons learnt from these exercises allow us to incorporate necessary improvements to continually build our resilience to a business disruption.

In 2017–18 we revised our Business Continuity Plan and Business Continuity Management Policy to simplify and streamline the content and structure. In addition, we developed an Incident Management Plan to better manage the transition between our agency’s emergency management procedures and activating our business continuity management. We now have three operational frameworks—emergency management, incident management and business continuity—which we can deploy to deal with different aspects of an incident.

Internal audit

The Internal Auditor is responsible for the efficient and effective operation of our internal audit function, reporting to the Chair through the Chief Operations Officer and the Audit Committee.

During 2017–18 the Audit Committee held quarterly regular meetings and a special meeting to discuss our agency’s financial statements. The Audit Committee endorsed the 2018–19 Strategic Internal Audit Work Program and internal audit reports on performance and compliance issues. It also reviewed our agency’s financial and performance reporting, risk oversight systems and management and internal controls.

Our contract with Oakton Services Pty Ltd to act as our agency’s internal audit service provider concluded in September 2017, and the role transitioned to KPMG. In 2017–18 KPMG completed internal audits into:

  • Emissions Reduction Fund methods
  • scheme delegations
  • Renewable Energy Target liabilities
  • ICT program model (Phase 1)
  • Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, and
  • human resources health check.

Regulatory reform

The Australian Government’s regulatory reform agenda aims to reduce unnecessary or inefficient regulation imposed on individuals, business and community organisations.

As part of the everyday administration of our schemes, we assess the potential burden on clients and implement practical, flexible regulatory approaches that appropriately balance both regulatory and client needs.

We are required to report annually against the Commonwealth’s Regulator Performance Framework key performance indicators. In 2017–18 we published our second self-assessment report, looking at our activities and outputs for 2016–17. The report, available on our website, demonstrates achievements against each of our specific measures under the Regulator Performance Framework. It reflects our commitment to good regulatory practice and maturity as a regulator. In particular, we are continuing to refine our practices and procedures, ensuring an appropriate balance between compliance and regulatory burden, and engaging with clients to enhance outcomes under the schemes we administer. This is confirmed by positive feedback from our clients and strong participation in our schemes.


We work closely with our regulatory partners to share information to ensure the integrity of the schemes we administer. We also provide information to assist other Commonwealth, state and territory government organisations to discharge their responsibilities under their respective legislation.

A range of formal agreements, lawful disclosure arrangements and staff secondments underpin our partnerships with other agencies. These mechanisms facilitate cooperation and information exchange to assist each agency to fulfil its regulatory responsibilities. This includes sharing relevant information, gathering intelligence and referring matters to the appropriate body, such as Commonwealth, state and territory agencies, including law enforcement if necessary.

Client survey

We conduct client surveys to understand client perceptions about our overall agency performance, staff performance, regulatory burden and preferred communication channels.

From 2016, to reduce client burden, we decided to conduct the full client survey on a biennial basis, with a shorter pulse survey every other year.

The first pulse survey of clients was conducted in November 2017. The survey used a slightly different methodology to collect information and focused on client perceptions of the agency, staff performance and use of our agency systems.

Table 12: Key client survey findings
Question 2014–15 % agree or strongly agree 2015–16 % agree or strongly agree 2016–17 % agree or strongly agree 2017–18 % agree or strongly agree20
The agency is doing a good job





Client organisation has an effective working relationship with the agency staff





The agency performs functions effectively





The agency effectively engages with clients





The agency has a clear direction and purpose





The agency has a sound focus on important issues





Our agency’s client survey is conducted on a biennial basis, with a shorter pulse survey conducted during alternate years. The results for 2017–18 are based on the pulse survey. Overall, client satisfaction remained relatively steady with past results. However, we are reviewing the results of the 2017–18 pulse survey to better understand the lower client satisfaction rate, and will be looking to identify ways to improve this in the coming year. Findings highlighted:

  • Strong overall performance. Most clients (72 per cent) surveyed agree that we are doing a good job, and 74 per cent believe they have an effective working relationship with us.
  • Areas to sustain. We want to maintain strong results for having clear direction and purpose, and staff performance.
  • Areas to improve. We will work on improving effective relationships with clients, and performing our functions as effectively as possible.


20. As noted, this is a pulse survey performed on a different basis to the full surveys in previous years.

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