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Role and functions

The Clean Energy Regulator is an economic regulator that administers schemes that work together to measure, manage, reduce or offset Australia's carbon emissions.


The Clean Energy Regulator's purpose is to accelerate carbon abatement for Australia.

The agency administers the Australian Government's legislated schemes that work together to measure, manage, reduce or offset Australia's carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable electricity.

During 2014–15 the Clean Energy Regulator administered the:

  • Emissions Reduction Fund. This voluntary scheme provides incentives for industry, businesses, land owners, state and local governments and other organisations to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce emissions or sequester carbon. For details see page 28.
  • Carbon Farming Initiative. This voluntary carbon abatement scheme for land-based projects was integrated into the Emissions Reduction Fund during 2014–15. For details see page 28.
  • Carbon pricing mechanism. This mandatory scheme required Australia's largest carbon emitters to report and pay for emissions they produced. It was repealed effective from 1 July 2014. During 2014–15 liable entities were required to meet the balance of obligations for 2013–14. For details see page 40.
  • National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme. This scheme provides a national framework for reporting and disseminating company information about greenhouse emissions and energy production and consumption. This informs policy and programme development nationally and avoids duplication of similar reporting requirements. For details see page 47.
  • Renewable Energy Target. This scheme encourages the additional generation of electricity from renewable sources, reduces emissions of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector, and ensures that renewable energy sources are ecologically sustainable. For details see page 54.
  • Australian National Registry of Emissions Units. This registry provides a secure online system for tracking Australia's obligations under the Kyoto protocol. It also allows the issuance and exchange of carbon units, the currency used in the Emissions Reduction Fund. For details see page 67.


  • Engaged, active and compliant clients. Participation in some parts of our schemes is voluntary. To be effective, the schemes need to attract and retain a strong base of clients who meet the requirements successfully and benefit from the schemes' incentives. The schemes also impose obligations which must be met. We want our clients to be informed, capable and willing to comply.
  • Efficient and effective administration. As an agency operating for the public good we have an obligation to be efficient and effective. In response to the government's deregulation agenda, we continuously look for ways of doing things more efficiently for us and our clients.
  • A trusted, relevant and expert institution. To address the challenge of reducing carbon emissions, the Clean Energy Regulator will need to operate for many years as a capable trusted agency, relied upon to make sound decisions based on excellent knowledge and data.
  • Secure and enduring infrastructure. Our changing policy environment and client base and the need to operate efficiently mean that we need resilient and adaptable long term processes and systems as well as reliable data.

Intended outcome

The Clean Energy Regulator contributes 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 Clean Energy Regulator upholds the Australian Public Service values of impartiality, commitment to service, accountability, respect and ethical behaviour. The agency also values integrity, professionalism, responsiveness and empowerment. These value sets are complementary and underpin how staff in the agency work with each other, as well as with clients, partners and stakeholders across government and industry.

Clients, partners and stakeholders

The Clean Energy Regulator works with:

  • clients—scheme participants and their professional advisers
  • partners—the Department of the Environment, other Commonwealth, state and territory regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies, and
  • stakeholders—Australian Government departments and agencies, industry associations and other bodies.

For more details on partnerships, see page 80. For more details on the client communications survey, see page 81.


The Clean Energy Regulator is responsible for:

  • providing education and information on the regulatory schemes
  • monitoring, facilitating and enforcing compliance with each regulatory scheme
  • collecting, analysing, assessing, providing and publishing information and data
  • managing the validity of the supply of renewable energy certificates and carbon units, and maintaining the secure registry systems in which their ownership is recorded
  • accrediting auditors for the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme, Emissions Reduction Fund, the carbon pricing mechanism and the Carbon Farming Initiative, and
  • working with other law enforcement and regulatory bodies.


The Clean Energy Regulator was established on 2 April 2012 as an independent statutory authority under the Clean Energy Regulator Act 2011. Other relevant legislation includes:

  • Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011 (Emissions Reduction Fund and Carbon Farming Initiative)
  • Clean Energy Act 2011 (carbon pricing mechanism, now repealed)
  • National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme)
  • Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 (Renewable Energy Target), and
  • Australian National Registry of Emissions Units Act 2011 (Australian National Registry of Emissions Unit).

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