This week marks the end of my five-year term as Chair of the Clean Energy Regulator. I have led this agency since its inception through many challenges and even more successes.
It was a privilege to be entrusted with this role. I am proud of what I have achieved, and of the reputation the institution now has. I leave knowing it is well placed to continue its work.
As a start-up in 2012, the Clean Energy Regulator faced an extraordinary challenge to get the carbon pricing mechanism under way by the legislated deadlines. At the same time we put the Carbon Farming Initiative into action, and assumed responsibility for the Renewable Energy Target and the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme.
With the freedom to shape this new entity, my colleagues and I set out to establish contemporary regulatory practice. We built the right framework to administer complex laws with integrity and independence. We designed the systems and processes that would provide the foundation for efficient and responsive operations with a commitment to reliable service standards and continuous improvement.
Building on these foundations, when the carbon pricing mechanism was abolished and replaced by the Emissions Reduction Fund and safeguard mechanism, the agency was able to implement the changes seamlessly. With these new settings, the agency achieved results well beyond those anticipated by many in the industry.
While the policy mechanisms have changed during my time as the Chair, their intent has not. The agency has never lost sight of its purpose: to accelerate carbon abatement for Australia.
I have a strong view that government programs, however well thought through, stand or fall by the quality of their execution. The law has little to say about systems, processes and the human capabilities required of an efficient, effective and trusted decision-maker.
Our task has been made easier by the willingness of our clients — businesses in most sectors of the economy right across Australia — to comply with their obligations. Our focus has always been on working with them to ensure high levels of compliance, and to make it easy for them to meet their obligations.
I pay tribute to the wisdom and insight of my fellow members of the Regulator who have guided our decisions and set our strategic direction. I am grateful to my talented executive team for their advice and leadership of the agency, and to all our staff whose expertise and dedication is second to none.
The past five years have been an exciting time to be Chair of the Clean Energy Regulator. I feel privileged to have had this opportunity. I wish my replacement every success in guiding the agency in its integral role in Australia’s transition to a low carbon future.
The Minister has appointed Jody Swirepik as Acting Chair while the process to appoint my successor moves to a conclusion.