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Public Interest Certificate – Australian Carbon Exchange

01 July 2022

On 30 June 2022, the Clean Energy Regulator issued a Public Interest Certificate in relation to the Australian Carbon Exchange procurement process.

Download the Public Interest Certificate

What is a Public Interest Certificate?

Under the Government Procurement (Judicial Review) Act 2018 (Cth), certain types of procurements may be suspended while complaints are being investigated or injunctions are being considered.

Relevant Commonwealth entities, like the Clean Energy Regulator, may issue a public interest certificate in circumstances where they consider that it is not in the public interest for a particular procurement process to be suspended. A Public Interest Certificate may be issued at any stage during the covered procurement process, and the issuing of the certificate is a standard part of time sensitive, critical procurement processes.

The issuing of a Public Interest Certificate means that in the event that a complaint is lodged, the procurement process can proceed while a formal investigation is undertaken.

Visit the Department of Finance's website for more information on Public Interest Certificates.

Why is it in the public interest for a Public Interest Certificate to be issued?

This certificate was issued due to the importance of the procurement for an Australian Carbon Exchange to support the Australian Government’s intention to urgently step-up action to tackle the climate crisis by:

  • committing to the reduction of Australia's emissions to 43% below 2005 levels by 2030
  • ensuring large businesses provide Australians and investors with greater transparency and accountability through standardised climate reporting requirements that align with international standards so they are usable, credible and comparable
  • speeding up the transition to renewable energy
  • introducing emissions reduction policies such as changes to the Safeguard mechanism that will rely on vibrant carbon markets and may result in the introduction of new carbon units and certificate types, (for example, issuing units to Safeguard entities that are below baselines and Guarantee of Origin Certificates to prove the production of hydrogen and other low emissions energy sources/products).

A robust, efficient and secure carbon unit and certificate register, linked to exchange markets, is a critical foundation for carbon markets to rapidly grow and support achievement of the government's emissions reduction goals.

The emergence of an exchange traded market aims to reduce risk and enhance industry and community confidence by creating a centralised, standardised, regulated marketplace which will improve market depth and liquidity, enhance price discovery and price and volume transparency, and reduce the cost of transacting.

The Australian National Registry of Emissions Units (ANREU) is now over 12 years old and was not built for the current paradigm of strong net zero targets from government and business, and new government policies aimed at facilitating businesses at all levels driving achievement of those strong targets.

In the short to medium term, the ability for Australia and Australian industry to move to “net zero” emissions, is heavily dependent on timely access to carbon offset units and certificates that will be difficult to source in the absence of an exchange market. If this procurement was suspended for an undetermined period, Australia's ability to meet its commitments could be materially impacted.

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