The Clean Energy Regulator’s purpose 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.
We operate for the public good in administrating the:
This policy outlines our approach to particular aspects of compliance activities under the schemes we administer. High levels of compliance furthers the objectives set out in the legislation and underpins confidence in the primary carbon and renewable energy markets we operate.
Our approach includes helping scheme participants to understand how to comply with their obligations, educating those who want to do the right thing, and an overall approach to deter, detect and respond to non-compliance to ensure ongoing scheme integrity.
Under this approach, we ensure activities are undertaken in a manner which is:
We publish annual
compliance priorities to increase the transparency and accountability of our activities to scheme participants, stakeholders, and the public. These identify specific areas of focus and targeted activities to address potential non-compliance which pose a high risk to scheme objectives. This work complements the risk-based approach to managing compliance in each scheme.
Responsibility for complying with relevant requirements under the schemes administered by the Clean Energy Regulator rests with the person or organisation to whom the legislation, policy, guidance or contract applies. Scheme participants have exhibited high levels of compliance with the schemes administered by the Regulator and we expect this to continue.
Participants often have obligations to meet other Commonwealth, state and territory laws and we work with other relevant regulators to facilitate compliance with these other obligations.
To further the legislative objectives of reducing carbon emissions and increasing the use of clean energy, the Clean Energy Regulator is responsible for:
In support of these responsibilities, we are also committed to partnering with other regulators, agencies, law enforcement and industry bodies.
The Clean Energy Regulator monitors the ability and willingness of existing and intending scheme participants to meet their obligations, as well as their operating environment. This information informs our compliance strategy and decisions.
Where a suspected compliance issue exists, we will begin by gathering and analysing relevant facts to identify the cause, decide the likelihood that a contravention has occurred (or may occur), the degree of seriousness, and likely consequences.
To assist in determining the appropriate response, we use an intelligence-led risk-based approach that considers the behaviours and motivations of scheme participants:
Figure 1 provides an overview of our compliance approach in light of the motivations and behaviours of the scheme participant. We prioritise stopping and preventing harm.
In most cases the Clean Energy Regulator will engage scheme participants, to provide advice and support to help them to understand their obligations and entitlements.
There will be occasions when we will engage with a scheme participant to manage compliance issues and will openly and directly discuss concerns with the participant to seek the necessary information or action to help finalise our enquiries. We will close enquiries as soon as possible to minimise costs to the participant if our concerns are adequately addressed through the additional information provided, or action taken by the participant.
The Clean Energy Regulator recognises that engagement, education and outreach are vital to ensure scheme participants are equipped with the knowledge to meet their obligations and avoid inadvertent non-compliance. We recognise that prevention of non-compliance is always preferable to taking action after non-compliance has occurred. To help drive a preventative approach we:
The Clean Energy Regulator collects a large volume of data through our business operations (e.g., from applications, reports and submissions we receive, information from third parties, and from open data and other intelligence sources including geospatial). We use this data to assist us to monitor compliance through the following activities:
Where there is suspected non-compliance, we use intelligence and data analysis when possible to determine the intent of the behaviour. We will then take appropriate compliance actions that may include:
We monitor any breaches of laws administered by other agencies, which could affect the fit and proper person requirements for participating in the voluntary schemes we administer. If we obtain information that indicates possible breaches of these laws, we may bring such matters to the participant’s attention (for example, allegations of fraudulent behaviour or potential scams affecting other regulators). In this event, we may ask the participant to show cause as to why the participant believes they remain a fit and proper person to participate in the scheme before taking a decision on the participant’s status.
This policy sits within the context of the broader Australian Government law enforcement policy. It should therefore be read in conjunction with other relevant instruments and documents, including the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth, Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework and Resource Management Guide No. 201: Preventing, Detecting and Dealing with Fraud.
The Clean Energy Regulator takes enforcement action in the first instance to stop the harm from continuing, and when required, to disrupt illegitimate business models and remove illegitimate participants and where appropriate take further enforcement actions. Enforcement action is likely to result when:
Matters the Clean Energy Regulator considers when deciding whether to commence an investigation may include:
A range of options are available to the Clean Energy Regulator to respond to harmful behaviour. These include:
These enforcement tools enable us to utilise the most appropriate mix of deterrent, protective and remedial sanctions in light of the circumstances and each particular case. In doing so, we exercise discretion to direct resources to matters that protect the integrity and improve the outcomes of the schemes we administer.
A list of compliance and enforcement options available to us can be found at
Compliance and enforcement tools available.
In some cases, the Clean Energy Regulator is legally obliged to publish information (e.g. the acceptance of enforceable undertaking under the
Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 and
Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011). Our policy is to publish all enforceable undertakings. We will publish such information as soon as practicable after it becomes available.
We will also publish the commencement and outcomes of any court action, the issuance of infringement notices, and other types of enforcement action. This information will be published as soon as practicable — however, in some circumstances, such as an ongoing investigation, we will use discretion on the timing of any publication.
The Clean Energy Regulator is committed to administering the climate change laws in a transparent, ethical and accountable manner. As part of this, we regularly review the content and implementation of this policy to ensure all relevant operational experience and legislative amendments are incorporated.
Where amendments to this policy are required, the updated policy can be found on
Any queries regarding obligations and entitlements under the schemes administered by the Clean Energy Regulator can be directed to
1300 553 542.
Any suggestions about our compliance approach can also be provided at the above email address.
Allegations of potential fraudulent activities or non-compliance can be reported to
firstname.lastname@example.org or via the phone number above.
A risk-based approach to compliance comes from an understanding that regulators cannot detect and respond to every contravention, and must instead encourage intrinsic compliance. We will prioritise stopping or preventing harms, taking into account the impacts of the non-compliance and the objectives of the scheme.
After carefully considering each case, we will decide which of the regulatory options is best suited to the circumstances of the case and what is able to be achieved within the Regulator’s resource constraints and strategic priorities, taking into account scheme integrity and the broader public interest.
Documentasset:Compliance policy for education, monitoring and enforcement activities is available as a downloadable document.
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The Clean Energy Regulator is a Government body responsible for accelerating carbon abatement for Australia.